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STILL WATERS, 



VOL. II. 



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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 



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STILL WATERS 



BY THE AUTHOR OF 'DOROTHY 



' Their strength is to sit still. ' 



Behold ! we know not anything ; 
I can but trust that good shall fall 
At last— far off— at last, to all, 

And every winter change to spring. 

In Memoriam . 







IN TWO VOLUMES 

VOL. II. 

LOXDON 

JOHX W. PARKER AND SON WEST STRAND 

1857 

ITke Author reserves the right of Traitslation} 



LONDON : 

SAVILL AND EDWAEDS, PEINTEES, 

CHANDOS STKEET. 



^2 3-- 

■.••2. 

STILL WATEES, 



CHAPTER I. 



heart of grace, that, like the lowly flowers, 
Bendest beneath the storms, but does not break, 
Whom in thy tears kind thoughts do not forsake, 

As blessed odours live on thunder-showers : 

WTiether the sim shines forth, or tempest lowers, 
Thou art unshaken — in thy utmost need. 
While iron pride is shattered like a reed. 

Thy winged hopes fly onward with the hom's. 

r, Tennyson. 

THERE Tvas a tacit agreement on the part 
of the brother and sisters, when they met 
at the breakfast- table ou the following morn- 
ing, to put aside the several explanations of the 
foregoing evening as completely as though they 
had never been. Ruth was in good spirits ; 
for, although llr. Ball^s sanguine view of her 
- mother^s state had failed to reassure her, the 
decided improvement this morning went far to 
allay her uneasiness. 

^ !Mamma seems,' she told David, ^ more like 

VOL. II. B 



2 STILL WATERS. 

herself than she has been for long — quite 
vigorous and cheerful/ 

David expressed his satisfaction, and felt 
that there could be no better opportunity for 
broaching the subject of their visit to Went- 
worth Lodge. He chose to assume that the 
invitation must be accepted, while Isabel raised 
her eyes with a timid and deprecating glance 
towards her sister. But it appeared that her 
pertui'bation might have been spared, for Kuth 
quietly assented, perhaps because she felt that 
opposition would only have the effect of de- 
stroying IsabeFs pleasure, without inducing her 
to relinquish the visit. Besides, she considered 
that Evelyn Gascoigne would be more on his 
guard under Lady Marians roof than at Dyne 
Court ; and that his attentions would become 
less marked in general society, if they were 
only due to his desire to carry on an idle flirta- 
tion. And so Isabel's eyes might be opened; 
but here Buth checked herself, unwilling to 
dwell on the cruel bitterness of such an 
awakening. Little as she desired Evelyn Gas- 
coigne to be her brother-in-law, she felt that 
Isabel's happiness was so deeply involved, that 
she dared not contemplate the wreck of all her 
hopes. 



STILL WATERS. 3 

Mrs. Lennox was pleased with the invitation, 
for this unsought introduction to the county 
society gratified her maternal pride. 

' I never saw Lady ^laria myself/ she said ; 
' but I always heard that she is particularly 
pleasant with young people ; and I imagine the 
Lodge keeps up the reputation it had in old 
]Mr. Wentworth's time, of being better monte 
than any house in the county. It will be a 
pleasant variety for David. The invitation is 
only to him and Isabel.^ 

^ I am not afironted/ Ruth answered, with a 
smile. ' I don't suppose that Lady Maria is 
aware of my existence.^ 

^I did not think of being afironted/ said 
Mrs. Lennox ; ' but it does vex me to think 
how completely you are shut out from the 
amusement and society which you ought to 
enjoy.' 

' I should not enjoy them if they came in 
my way/ said Ruth, with the playful decision 
with which she ever silenced such regrets; 
' and so it is well for me that I have home 
duties. But I project a dissipation for the 
afternoon, in the shape of a drive with Clara, 
if you can really spare me.' 

Mrs. Lennox readily assented ; and she would 
B % 



4 STILL WATERS. 

not suffer Isabel to stay at home in her sister^s 
place, as Isabel was urgent to be allowed to do, 
since she was desirous to prove her resolution 
in foregoing a whole afternoon of Captain Gas- 
coigne^s society. And Ruth was glad that her 
intention was overruled, since her motive in 
joining the party was to see Evelyn and her 
sister together. 

It did not seem, however, that she was to 
have the opportunity for personal obseiTations, 
since a quiet strife between the two gentle- 
men, as to who should occupy the fourth 
place inside the barouche, ended in David's 
favour; and Captain Gascoigne had not much 
intercourse with his companions from his ele- 
vated seat on the box. Isabel leaned back, 
rather silent and abstracted ; but Clara was 
full of animation, and made much of Ruth, 
who had latterly been in such close attendance 
on her mother, that her release for the after- 
noon was quite an event. 

Ruth was desired to choose the object of 
their drive, and she decided in favour of 
Beverly Grange. jNtany a long summer's holi- 
day had been spent there in former days ; and 
now that the distance exceeded her powers of 
walking, she was glad to take this opportunity 



STILL WATERS. 5 

of renewing old associations. The carriage set 
them down at the entrance to the long green 
lane to which Sir John^s coachman did not 
choose to trust the springs of his barouche^ 
although tradition said that it had once been 
considered passable for the Beverly coach and 
six. And they were all well pleased to walk, 
although David thought that his fraternal 
affection was put to a rather severe test, 
when Clara insisted that he should give his 
arm to Ruth!, while she tripped daintily by 
their side. From her cousin she neither 
asked nor expected help, and he stopped so 
often to strip the hazel bushes of their ripe 
clusters, that he and Isabel were soon left 
behind. 

^ Do you remember, David,' said Ruth, ' our 
coming home along this lane so tired and 
hungry, because you had insisted on our start- 
ing without provisions, in order that we might 
dine on the fish you were to catch in the 
moat V 

' Which proved to be three minnows and a 
gudgeon/ said David, laughing ; ' and we had 
no means of cooking theai, for the farm people 
had locked up the house, and all turned out to 
make hay. I wanted to break into the dairy. 



6 STILL WATERS. 

but^ as usual^ your conscience and Clinton^s 
were too mighty for me/ 

^ Was Mr. Clinton^s conscience so tender V 
said Clara^ innocently ; and she really was -un- 
conscious, probably because her own memory in 
such matters was not particularly retentive, 
how that allusion made Ruth inwardly shrink 
and shiver. Yet she gave no outward sign of 
emotion, save a slight compression of the firm, 
pale lips, and she had steadied the hand which 
rested on her brother^s arm before he discovered 
how it trembled in his grasp. 

David was in love, and therefore he could 
not wish one word unsaid which fell from Clara^s 
lips; yet he was conscious that the remark 
jarred upon him, and he said quickly, ^ Jasper 
Clinton was thoroughly true-hearted, and I 
often find, on looking back, that I owe to him 
the few fixed principles I have.^ 

' I don^t quite understand,^ said Clara, lightly, 
^ whether ^Ir. Clinton was a warning or an 
example ; if the latter, I am afraid you must 
be a very unprincipled character.^ 

Ruth^s head was turned away, or Clara 
might have been che«?ked by the expression of 
her face ; as it was, she was startled by the tone 
of tremulous earnestness in which she replied — 



STILL WATERS. 7 

^ Oh Clara ! cannot you spare the past, in 
memory of those short, bright days we must 
know no more V 

^1 did not think — I did not mean to yex 
you/ replied Clara. *" Now show that you for- 
give me by telling more about those happy 
days ; of all the scrapes which Mr. Lennox got 
into, and Mr. Clinton helped him out of.^ 

In Da^id^s opinion the ready grace of the 
apology atoned for the thoughtlessness which 
had rendered it necessary, and he willingly- 
supplied the reminiscences which from Ruth^s 
lips were few and scanty. He pointed out the 
various attractions which the place possessed 
for boys; the rookery, the ruined keep, and 
the green and slimy moat. 

Captain Gascoigne and Isabel sauntered on, 
talking not of the past, but of the future. Isabel 
had collected a store of traditions concerning 
the ruins which she would have liked to impart 
to another companion, but she had discovered 
that Evelyn took little interest in such re- 
searches ; and, besides, she was best pleased 
to hear, and not to speak, when he was by. 
Evelyn had a taste for landscape gardening, 
and he was struck by the capabilities of the 
Grange for becomincf once more a manor-house. 



8 STILL WATERS. 

' I should repair the keep/ lie said^ ' though 
I don't promise to inhabit it, for it may be diffi- 
cult to dislodge the rats^ the bats, and the owls. 
But the farm, with its picturesque out-buildings, 
might easily be converted into a dwelling- 
house, and you may trace the old approach 
by that irregular line of Spanish chestnuts 
stretching over the two fields. The turf must 
be mown and levelled, and the moat drained.' 

' Oh ! you will not fill in the moat,' said 
Isabel, pleadingly. 

'You have a sentiment for the moat? Well, 
then, we must reserve that improvement until 
the asre of rheumatism succeeds to that of 
romance. And where will you put the flower- 
garden ?' 

Isabel did not know, she said ; it was one 
of those dubious speeches which destroyed her 
self-possession, making her heart flutter and her 
cheek crimson, while she wondered what Cap- 
tain Gascoigne meant, and what Ruth would 
think if she had heard him. For he had begun 
by saying that he should be content to settle 
in such a place as Beverly Grange, old and 
picturesque as it was, and with scope for im- 
provements which would give him plenty of 
occupation. And in these improvements he 



STILL WATERS. 9 

persisted in giving her an interest and a voice, 
almost implying by that pronoun ^ we^ that 
they must act together. 

On their return, Captain Gascoigne was in- 
side the carriage, and as he and Isabel sat side 
by side, and opposite to Ruth, she could ob- 
serve them to her heart's content, or discontent. 
For she could not fail to observe the contrast 
between the two faces; that of Isabel was so 
transparent in its varying emotions, whether 
downcast in bashful happiness, or, forgetting 
herself and her embarrassment, she turned her 
full earnest gaze towards Evelyn, in eager 
attention to all which fell from his lips. 
Evelyn's countenance expressed intellect, sense, 
quickness of perception, but beyond this, it 
was a riddle which Ruth could not read. And 
there was something premature in his tone of 
worldly wisdom, and his cool, well-balanced 
judgments, while there was little of the frank 
gaiety of youth in the smile so often on his 
lips. On the whole, the prejudice with which 
Isabel accused her sister of regarding Captain 
Gascoigne, was not dissipated during the drive 
home from Beverly Grange. 

David declared that it was too fine to go 
into the house, and he made Isabel go down 



10 STILL WATERS. 

to the river side uitli liim, wliile Ruth went 
straight to her mother^s room. 

' You are home early,^ said Mrs. Leunox ; 
and Ruth was grieved by the nervous quickness 
of her voice. 

' Xot earlier than I intended, mamma ; and 
I am afraid that I have been too long away. 
You have been tiring yourself, I am sure.^ 

^ I am rather tired, dear. Dr. Berkeley 
paid me a long visit.^ 

' And you were not at all fit to see any 
one/ said Ruth, reproachfully ; ' the Doctor 
ought to have known better, and so I shall tell 
him.' 

' Ah; Ruth !' said her mother, and there she 
paused. 

^ Well, mamma, you need not think me 
unjust to the Doctor. I know that he does 
not mean to be inconsiderate, but he really 
does abuse the privilege of a scholar and a 
single man in his absence of mind. However, 
we will not talk of him now, or of anything 
else, for you ought to rest.' 

' I cannot rest,' said Mrs. Lennox, ' until I 
have told the purport of the Doctor's visit; 
unless you can guess, Ruth, how nearly it con- 
cerns yourself.' 



STILL WATERS. II 

The colour flew into Eutli's face, but her 
answer betrayed her annoyance rather than 
embarrassment. 

' Oh mamma ! I have once or twice had a 
horrible suspicion that he had something in 
his head^ but I always put it aside as simply 
impossible. He must know, must feel, how 
impossible it is that he should ever be more 
than a friend.^ 

' He has felt it, Ruth, and that conviction 
has sealed his lips so long, and now restrains 
him from pleading his own cause. I said 
something of my confidence that his fr'iendship 
and advice would be your chief stay when I am 
gone, and that drew forth the confession that 
he had loved, and loved hopelessly, for years.' 

' Hopelessly,^ repeated Ruth ; ' and surely, 
mamma, you did not bid him hope V 

[ At least I thought that he need not despair 
until he heard his fate from yonr own lips. 
But there is no need to decide hastily.-' 

^ No time could alter my decision. Such 
love as we may carry from the cradle to the 
grave is yom's, dearest mother, and I shall know 
no other.^ 

' So others have said, dear, who yet have 
learned to love and be loved most intensely. 



13 STILL WATERS. 

And surely Dr. Berkeley's earnest, single- 
hearted affection merits some return/ 

^ One cannot reason about these things/ 
said Ruth, with a slight shade of impatience in 
her voice, then melting into tender reproach. 
^And, oh mamma, what have I done, that you 
should wish to drive me from you V 

' Nothing shall part us but death, my sweet 
one,' said her mother, folding her in her arms ; 
' and it is the thought of that parting which 
makes death bitter. David and Isabel have 
youth and spirits to cope with all trials, and 
the strong bond of their mutual love to lighten 
them, but you are isolated by your devotion to 
me, and your nerves are shaken and your 
spirits crushed/ 

' But not by the little T have been able to 
do for you, mamma. Indeed, that has been 
my great stay when other things pressed 
heavily.' 

' Ah, Ruth !' said Mrs. Lennox, sadly, ' do 
you still suffer that young and fleeting fancy 
to dwell in your recollection V 

' Despise me, if you will,' said Ruth, hiding 
her face in an agony of shame ; ' yet not so bit- 
terly as I despise myself. The suspense makes 
it so hard to forget. I should be satisfied to 



STILL WATERS. I3 

hear but once of his welfare^ or to know that 
one day his honour will be made clear to 
others as to me/ 

'And even then, Ruth, do you think of the 
change these years must have wrought ? In 
the roving life of toil and hardships which 
must be Jasper^s lot, it is little likely that 
early associations retain their hold on his 
memory/ 

' He has nothing to remember ; at least/ 
E/Uth added, blushing, ' he confided in me as a 
brother might; and, if he has not forgotten 
our place and name, he still thinks of me as a 
sister/ 

'And, as a brother, therefore, he would re- 
joice to know that there is one at hand to care 
for you when I am gone ; to devote to you the 
energies of a strong and tender heart. Jasper 
would be the first to urge that such love ought 
not to be lightly rejected/ 

Euth had borne much, but to have it sup- 
posed that Jasper would plead the cause of 
another was beyond her powers of endurance. 
Cowering down, so as to escape the light touch 
of her mother's fingers, which seemed to weigh 
like lead on her beating temples, she said, in 
a low, half stifled voice, ' AA'hat Jasper might 



14 STILL WATEKS. 



urffe we do not know — w^e never shall know, 
igl 



Enough to tell me what you wish/ 

' Dear child/ said Mrs. Lennox, tenderly, 
' I should be the last to urge you to take any 
step from which you recoil. Only do not 
decide hastily. Dr. Berkeley will wait with 
patience, as he has waited for years. And may 
I not tell him this much, that, though you 
cannot now requite his love, the time may 
come V 

' If you will, mamma ; but he must not 
press it. He must not speak to me now — I 
could not bear it.' 

And Ruth knew not how much the words 
so reluctantly wrung from her implied, until 
the pledge was sealed by her mother's long, 
grateful kiss. Then her heart sank, but it 
was too late to draw back, and she felt that 
no sacrifice was too great which had chased 
the expression of disquietude from those 
pinched and sharpened features. At that 
moment Ruth could not think of her own 
future, nor of anything but the foreboding 
which found an echo in her heart, and she 
asked anxiously, ' Mamma, do you feel worse 
to-night V 

^Much better, dear, since that point is 



STILL WATERS. 1 5 

settled ; but I must not talk any more to- 
night, and you had better go down to tea 
before Isabel comes to seek you/ 

Ruth left the room ; but she did not go 
down at once, for she wished to be alone, to 
try and collect her thoughts. But she could 
not think — she could scarcely feel ; there was 
a dull, be^vildered sense of pain, and that was 
all. Her mother^s last words had failed to re- 
assure her, and though there was no definite 
cause for the belief, she felt certain that before 
the pale moon, now rising in the twilight sky, 
had waned and waxed again, her long watches 
by her mother's bedside would be ended — the 
wasting sickness would have done its work, 
and be exchanged for the stillness of death. 
Beyond that present and crushing grief Buth 
would not look ; but words, not of her own 
seeking, came into her mind, and were mur- 
mured through her parched lips : — ' Casting all 
your care upon the Lord, for He careth for 
you.' And, according to the promise, remem- 
bering these everlasting judgments, she ^received 
comfort.' 



1 6 STILL WATERS. 



CHAPTER II. 

These Border Lands are calm and still, 
And solemn are their silent shades, 

And my heart welcomes them until 
The light of life's long evening fades. 

ON the day fixed for the visit to Wentworth 
Lodge, and not much after the appointed 
hour, Clara drove into Holmdale to take up 
David and Isabel. And although they were 
in readiness, Clara chose to alight and see 
Ruth_, while her cousin remained to superintend 
the arrangement of the boxes. Ruth had taken 
leave of her brother and sister up-stairs; but 
she did not regret being summoned doAvn, for 
it was worth while to see Clara looking so un- 
usually bright and pretty, in the smallest and 
most transparent of summer bonnets, a gos- 
samer dress and gay-coloured mantle. The 
contrast between the rival beauties was marked 
as ever, for Isabel conceived that the sharp 
wind of this September afternoon entitled her 
to discard summer guise, and she looked best 
in dark colours ; and never better than when, 



STILL WATERS. 17 

as now, she wore her long cloak of Carmelite 
grey, and of texture so soft and fine as to fall 
in clinging folds round her tall and pliant 
form. 

' Oh, Ruth !^ said Clara, as she entered the 
room, ' I could not go without receiving your 
last instructions ; for since Mr. Lennox and 
Isabel go, as it were, under my wing, I 
shall feel responsible for their behaviour, and 
I am ready to attend to any hints on the 
subject.^ 

^ If I did not know that anv hint would be 

t/ 

thrown away, Clara, I might say that example 
is better than precept.^ 

' I understand ; and hereby exhort !Mr. 
Lennox and Isabel to make me their pattern 
in every particular. There is no danger now 
that they will eat with their knives, or ride 
in a carriage, or transgress any other laws of 
society.^ 

' Ah ! Clara,^ said Ruth, with a smile, which 
was, however, grave and unwilling. ' Do you 
transgress no other laws V 

Clara was only excited by her success in 
rousing something of the old spirit which 
used to lead Ruth to lecture and rebuke her ; 
but David was quite on the defensive. 

VOL. II. c 



1 8 STILL WATERS. 

^ Ruth/ he said, ^ always takes refuge in gene- 
ralities/ 

' Generalities/ repeated his sister ; ^ I was 
afraid that Clara might think me only too per- 
sonal/ 

' So you are in one sense/ said Clara ; ^ but I 
quite agree with ^Ir. Lennox touching your 
reserve ever since this \dsit to \Yentworth 
Lodge was proposed. I have seen that you 
disliked the idea without being able to extract 
the reason/ 

' It was not likely that you would attend to 
my reasons/ said Ruth. 

' Still you might have given me the option. 
But you never tell me now what you think or 
care about.^ 

' As one grows old_, one does not care about 
so many things ; or sometimes I care so much, 
that I donH care to say anything which you 
would take hold of to torment and woriy, as a 
kitten does a ball/ 

^ In that case we had better become monks 
of La Chartreuse at once/ said Clara. 

' There must be some listeners in the world, 
as well as speakers/ answered Ruth, smiling 
a little at the inaptitude expressed by every 
fold and flutter of Clara^s gay dress for such a 



STILL WATERS. 1 9 

vocation ; ' and I believe that the first are almost 
as useful members of society as the last/ 

' But, Ruth/ said Isabel, coming up to her, 
^ I need not go even now, if you think I had 
better not/ 

' It is only one of Clara's fancies,' said Ruth ; 
'mamma would be quite disappointed if you 
gave up the visit; and she seems better this 
afternoon/ 

' So that is your reason for looking grave/ 
said Clara. * Mrs. Lennox has been worse/ 

' Only not better,' Ruth answered ; ' this has 
been such a long, wearing attack.' 

'Wearing to others as well as to herself,' 
said Clara. ' Mr. Lennox tells me — and I can 
quite believe it — that you are growing ner- 
vous and dispirited from want of sleep, and I 
have a great mind to stay and enliven you — 
no one will miss me at the Lodge.' 

' Not I,' said David, promptly, as she glanced 
towards him, ' for I shall certainly stay at home 
too.' 

' In that case there would be no one but the 
Captain to chaperon Isabel, which would not be 
quite correct, would it, Ruth V said Clara. 

Ruth was spared the necessity of devising 
such a reply as might cover her sister's cou- 
c 2 



20 STILL WATERS. 

fusion, by the entrance of the Captain himself, 
to announce that the carriage was ready ; and 
he was next attacked by his lively cousin. 

'Well, Evelyn, you find us all disputing for 
the honour of sharing Ruth^s seclusion. Will 
you not make the same magnanimous offer V 

' If T had any hope that it would be accept- 
able,' replied Evelyn, coolly. 

Ruth understood the allusion to the want of 
cordiality, w^hich had from the first marked 
their intercourse ; but, while Isabel looked dis- 
concerted and unhappy, she only said, ' It 
really is not fair to keep the horses standing, 
when they have such a long drive before them.' 

' A polite hint that you have had enough of 
our company,' said Clara, laughing ; ^ and you 
are quite content to be left alone V 

' I cannot think what you mean by my being 
alone, when I have mamma,' said Ruth. 

' Good-bye, dear Ruth,' said Isabel, return- 
ing her fond, though hurried embrace. ' You 
will write a line about mamma to-morrow, and 
we shall be home by three on Tuesday.' 

She sprang into the carriage, followed by 
Clara, who continued to kiss and wave her hand 
as long as she could catch a glimpse of Ruth's 
figure on the doorstep. And Ruth stood there 



STILL WATERS. 21 

until the carriage was out of sight, and then 
turned slowly into the house. 

Dr. Berkeley had not been to the Red House 
since the memorable afternoon when he liad 
found courage to confess his love to Mrs. Len- 
nox ; but she had written to inform him of 
E/Uth's unwilling consent to refrain from abso- 
lutely rejecting his suit ; and the tone of his 
brief reply made Ruth fear that this concession 
had been expressed in terms which drew their 
colouring from her mother^s own wishes. They 
had not met since ; and although nervously 
shrinking from the inevitable explanation^ Ruth 
saw the necessity of submitting to it, rather 
than to suffer the hopes to which !Mrs. Lennoxes 
letter had given rise to gather strength. She 
imagined that the Doctor might avail himself of 
the absence of her brother and sister ; and as 
Mrs. Lennox was best pleased to be alone^ she 
resolutely sat down-stairs for the greater part 
of the evening. Her colour went and came at 
every footfall on the pavement, but her solitude 
was undisturbed; and Ruth could not guess who 
it was who passed and repassed so frequently, 
watching the single shadow cast upon the 
window-blind by the small bright lamp, with- 
out finding courage to enter. ' To-morrow/ 



2Z STILL WATERS. 

thought Dr. Berkeley^ ^hen at last he returued^ 
chilled and weary, to his own house. ^ To- 
morrow we must, as usual, walk home from 
church together, and then I must say one 
word to satisfy myself that she is not offended 
by my presumption, and to assure her that 
I shall be silent until she bids me speak.^ 

On the morrow, however, Ruth was missing 
from her accustomed place in church ; and on 
inquiring at the Red House, after the morning 
service, Dr. Berkeley learned that ^liss Lennox 
had been up all night with her mother, and 
had now gone to lie down. ' I can tell her 
that you are here,^ said Sally, believing that 
Ruth might be cheered by the face of a friend ; 
but the Doctor was of a different opinion, and 
he only left a message to entreat that Miss 
Lennox would send for him if he could be of 
any use. As she lay in her own room, Ruth 
heard the colloquy on the stairs, and recognised 
the Doctor's voice. In child-like obedience to 
her mother's wishes, she had closed the shut- 
ters, and lain down to try and sleep, only to 
become more painfully alive to the fluttering 
of her heart, and the restless quivering of 
every nerve. In the sick room, when her 
mother's attacks of exhaustion were most 



STILL WATERS. 23 

alarming, slie could minister to her needs 
with thoughtful tenderness, never suffering her 
hand to tremble nor her voice to falter; but 
the reaction came as soon as the strain was 
relaxed. 

That long and anxious night had justified 
her forebodings, and although Mr. Ball, for 
whom she sent at an early hour of the morn- 
ing, continued to speak sanguinely, she fancied 
that his tone was changed, and that he only 
wished to maintain his consistency and to 
calm her fears. Still he would not sanction 
her desire to recall David and Isabel, and she 
did not like to act on her own responsibility, 
since it might only alarm them unnecessarily, 
and agitate [Mrs. Lennox. She contented 
herself with a brief account of her mother^s 
increasing weakness in her letter to Isabel, 
belie\ing that it must convey to them an im- 
pression of the anxiety which she did not 
openly declare. 

Mrs. Lennox rallied as the day went on, 
although she was little inclined to speak, and 
the few words she said argued the same 
conviction as before, that the end was near. 
Therefore, when she asked whether David and 
Isabel were to return on the following day, or 



24 STILL WATERS. 

on Tuesday, Ruth felt justified in framing her 
answer so as to relieve her own intolerable 
weight of care. 

' Not till Tuesday, mamma ; but it would be 
easy to summon them home if you wished it/ 

' No/ said Mrs. Lennox ; ' there is no need 
to shorten the last holiday-making they will 
have for some time. Tuesday will be soon 
enough, though not too soon.^ 

Tuesday came, and Dr. Berkeley was among 
the first to call at the Red House that day, for 
a report of Mr. Ball^s altered opinion had spread 
through the town, and it was said that he ad- 
mitted !Mrs. Lennoxes prostration of strength 
to be very alarming. ' Her night was very 
bad,^ Sally said, in answer to his inquiries, ' but 
Miss Lennox will tell you herself, for she wished 
to see you when you came.^ 

Dr. Berkeley had little time to recover his 
composure or to lose it, as the case might be, 
before Ruth appeared. She was perfectly calm 
in voice and manner; the firm, pale lips did 
not falter, and her eyes were glazed and tear- 
less. But Dr. Berkeley thought, as he looked 
at her, of the poet's lines : — 

* And in my heart, if calm at all, 
K any calm, a calm despair.' 



STILL WATERS. 25 

' You are not fit to be alone^ IMiss Lennox/ 
he said; '^you should have sent for nie^ if I 
could have been of the slightest use or com- 
fort/ 

^ It was only this morning that I wished to 
see you. I have written to Mr. Smith to ask 
him to come at three to administer the Holy 
Communion. Da^id and Isabel wiU have re- 
turned, but mamma — we both — wish that you 
should be there also.^ 

' I will come/ said Dr. Berkeley; and he 
was unable to say more. 

^ If they leave the Lodge directly after break- 
fast/ continued Ruth, ' they should be here at 
twelve. It is grievous to think how unpre- 
pared they both are, and poor Isabel especially 
will take it so much to heart that she should 
have been away at this time.'' 

^ It is more grievous on your account that 
you have been left to bear such a charge alone. 
Surely, Miss Lennox,^ and Dr. Berkeley spoke 
with a hesitation which seemed to deprecate 
the idea that he had the slightest claim to such 
a privilege, *^ surely you will permit me to 
remain in the house. I must just go back 
to make arrangements with Harrison for my 
class, but I will return at once.^ 



26 STILL WATERS. 

' If it is not inconvenient/ said Ruth ; and 
Dr. Berkeley looked pained by tlie reply. 

' Can you suppose/ lie said, ^ that I should 
suffer any inconvenience to come between us?' 

Then for the first time Kuth remembered 
the position in which he stood, and felt inclined 
to retract the permission of which he was so 
eager to avail himself. But she knew how deeply 
a refusal would wound him, and she really felt 
the need of some stronger mind on which to 
rely. So the Doctor was presently established 
in the drawing-room to occupy himself in 
replying to the notes and messages which 
poured in. ' It is woman's work/ Ruth said, 
with a faint smile, ' but I must leave it all to 
you. I can do little for her now, yet I have a 
selfish longing to be with her — the time is so 
short.' 

^ Go now/ said Dr. Berkeley, as she lingered 
for a moment to provide him with pens and 
paper ; ^ I can find everything.' 

One, two o'clock came, but David and Isabel 
had not returned. INIore than once Mrs. Len- 
nox awoke with a start from a few moments' 
uneasy sleep, and asked faintly, ^ Have they 
come ?' 

And still Ruth made the same reply, with a 



STILL WATERS. 27 

failing hearty ' Not yetj mamma^ but tliey 
must come soon.' 

^ Poor children !^ ^Irs. Lennox murmured, 
as she sank back on her pillows. ^ It will not 
do to wait for them^ Kuth, I am so faint and 
spent. Will Mr. Smith come soon V 

Ruth left Sally with her mother, and went 
down to Dr. Berkeley. 

* Is there any change V he asked, shocked 
by the face of ashy paleness which met his 
eyes. And as Ruth wrung her hands in un- 
controllable anguish without finding voice to 
speak, he asked again, ' Shall I go for Ball V 

' No, it would be of no use ; she said so her- 
self,^ answered Ruth, the words escaping with 
diflBculty through her set teeth, and Dr. Berkeley 
was almost more agitated than herself, even 
while he attempted to soothe her. 

' Miss Lennox — dear Ruth, be patient, be 
calm. You have borne all so nobly until now, 
even while looking forward to this end.^ 

' It is not that/ said Ruth. ' She is going 
fast; and even now she is entering into that 
perfect peace of which we who are left behind 
can never taste : but she had one earthly hope 
remaining — to see David and Isabel again, and 
it is not to be. Oh, if I had but sent !' 



28 STILL WATERS. 

' They may still be in time/ said Dr. 
Berkeley ; and Ruth only shook her head. She 
rightly guessed that they had been persuaded 
to defer their return until the following day. 

Mr. Smith came, and with him and Dr. 
Berkeley Euth returned to the chamber of 
death. For that life was fleeting fast none 
now could doubt, who marked the sharpened 
features, so full of peace and spiritual beauty. 
At the beginning of the service the mother 
cast one wistful glance around, as if in search 
of her absent children ; but when her eyes fell 
on the figure kneeling beside Buth she seemed 
satisfied, and Dr. Berkeley rightly interpreted 
her confidence that she might safely commit 
her dearest earthly treasure to his keeping. 
And then all earthly care was laid aside, and 
to her, and to those who were joined in that 
communion, but one thought was present, — the 
participation of that Life over which death has 
no power. 



STILL WATERS. 29 



CHAPTER III. 

Wliere faces are hueless, where eyelids are dewless, 
Where passion is silent, and hearts never crave, 
WTiere thought hath no theme, and where sleep hath no 
dream, 
In patience and peace thoa art gone — to thy grave ! 

Geoege Meeedith. 

A GAY party -was gathered round the dinner- 
table at Wentworth Lodge that evening, 
and few were gayer than David Lennox. Clara 
had never appeared more fascinating, or distin- 
guished him with more marked favour. She 
had scarcely a word to bestow on her cousin 
Evelyn, who sat on her other side, and he was 
forced to solace himself by becoming particu- 
larly agreeable to Lady ]Maria. 

Isabel was less happily placed between Lord 
Raeburn and Lord Edward; and in order to 
escape from the unwelcome attentions of the 
former, she embarked in a political discussion, 
in which, however, she did not betray any 
lively interest. But it would be unjust to 
ascribe her pre-occupied manner to her position 



30 STILL WATERS. 

at tlie dinner- table, for she was dissatisfied and 
ill at ease, reproaching herself for not having 
insisted on their departure that afternoon. In 
reality, the decision had not rested with her; 
Lady Maria had urged them not to be the first 
to break up the party, David ruled that it must 
be as Miss Gascoigne chose, and Miss Gascoigne 
chose to stay. Isabel had proposed to return 
home without her, but her brother refused to 
listen to the suggestion, and took some pains 
to construe Ruth^s report into a good account. 
And Isabel was forced to silence her misgiv- 
ings, and to console herself with the thought 
that one day could make little difierence. 

They had not long sat down to dinner when 
a message was brought in to David, that there 
was a person wishing to speak to him. 

^ "Who is it V David asked; and the servant 
replied that ^the gentleman did not give his 
name.^ 

'A mysterious stranger,^ said Clara, lightly. 
David laughed, and bade the servant say that 
he would come directly. 

Although Isabel only heard imperfectly what 
was passing, a foreboding of the truth sent a 
chill to her heart, and she looked imploringly 
at her brother; but he had turned again to 



STILL WATERS. ^i 

Clara^ and their eyes did not meet. IsabePs 
chair was close to the door opening into the 
entrance-hall, and in a lull of conversation the 
tones of a voice she could not mistake reached 
her ears : ^ Have yon sent in my message to 
Mr. Lennox ?^ A stifled cry broke from her : 
' It is the Doctor ! ^ she said, leaning forward 
to arrest her brother^s attention, and she left 
the room, almost instantly followed by David. 

' I see you guess the truth,^ said Dr. Berke- 
ley j ' I have come to summon you home. We 
waited, expecting you to come.^ 

^And now it is too late,^ said Isabel. 

^ I trust not ; IMrs. Lennox is sinking fast, 
but she was still conscious when I left.^ The 
Doctor was not disposed to suppress or soften 
the truth, for his sympathies were all with her 
who was left to watch alone in the chamber of 
death. ^ Where is your cloak?' he continued; 
' every moment is precious, and the fly is wait- 
ing to take us back at once.' 

There was relief in immediate action. David 
threw a cloak about his sister, and bade her 
follow the Doctor, while he hurried back to the 
dining-room to explain the cause of their de- 
parture to the party which sat there in con- 
strained silence. To Clara, and not to Ladv 



3a STILL WATERS. 

Maria^ David instinctively addressed himself. 
* You must make our excuses/ he said^ in a 
low, hurried voice ; ' my mother is very ill, and 
•we must go at once. God grant it may not be 
too late !' 

'And it was I who kept you/ said Clara, 
with real feeling ; ' and poor Ruth is alone. 
Make haste back to comfort and take care of 
her.' David took, and for a moment detained 
her hand, and then he hurried away, without 
bestowing a look or thought on the rest of the 
party. 

It was a long, dreary drive. The horses 
were tired; and although Dr. Berkeley had 
ordered a fresh pair to be in readiness at 
Lapton, the town through which they must 
pass, some time was lost in changing, and the 
night was dark and roads bad. Cowering down, 
with her face buried in her hands, Isabel was 
utterly unable to speak, and less conscious of 
the lapse of time than David, who, in his rest- 
less agitation, only retarded progress by putting 
his head out of window to entreat the driver to 
make haste, to ask how far they had gone, and 
if the man was sure of his road. The Doctor 
leaned back in his corner, almost as silent as 
Isabel, vet roused to answer David when he 



STILL WATERS. ^^ 

said that Ruth should have sent for them last 
night. 

^You seem to forget/ he said, '^that you 
were expected at home some hours ago/ 

Isabel shivered, and David drew her to his 
side and whispered soothing words : ' Be pa- 
tient, dearest; we shall be there soon/ 

Not soon, yet at length the vehicle rolled 
into the dimly-lighted High-street, and stopped 
at the door of the Red House. Before the 
carriage drew up, David was on the pavement ; 
and at the same moment the door was opened 
by Sally, who hastened to impart the informa- 
tion he dared not ask. 

'Thank God, Mr. David, you are in time. 
Miss Lennox heard the wheels and sent me 
down ; and she was asking for you not long 
since. ^ 

' Thank God,^ David repeated. He lifted 
Isabel from the carriage, who clung to him 
helplessly for support, and led her into the 
house. The light fell upon her drooping form, 
and her gay evening dress seemed sadly out 
of keeping with the expression of stupified 
misery, which robbed her face of all its wonted 
beauty ; but it was not a time to think of 
these things, and without a moment^s delay the 

VOL. H. D 



34 STILL WATERS. 

brother and sister ascended the stair together. 
The door of their mother^s room stood open ; 
and the low, thrilling tones of RutVs voice 
met the ear — 

^ ' Yea, though T walk through the valley of 
the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for 
Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff 
comfort me/ ' 

Struggling for that 'breath of life^ which 
the Lord God was now recalling to Himself, 
Mrs. Lennox sat, supported by RutVs en- 
circling arm. And Ruth looked up with a 
strange and quiet smile, reflecting the holy 
calm of her mother^s countenance, although she 
could not, without a pang, disturb that heavenly 
peace by recalling the departing spirit to the 
consciousness of the ties so nearly severed. 

' ;Mamma,^ she said, ' they are come. David 
and Isabel are here. Will you not look up 
and speak to them?^ 

It seemed that the words fell on an un- 
heeding ear; and David repeated with pas- 
sionate earnestness — 

'Mother, we are here. Say but one word 
of farewell and blessing.' 

This time the appeal was not made in vain. 
The power of speech was gone, but the mother 



STILL WATERS. ^^ 

turned "apon lier son a look of unspeakable love 
and tenderness ; and while lie pressed one cold 
hand to his lips, the other sought Isabel's head, 
who had thrown herself on her knees beside the 
bed. 

It was the last effort. There was another 
gasping sigh, a few more palpitations of the 
fluttering hearty and then all was still, and the 
lifeless form alone was clasped by Ruth^s 
upholding arm. Gently, as a mother might 
lay her child to sleep, she placed the hanging 
head on the pillow : reverently she closed the 
eyes, and kissed the brow of the dead. 

ISot yet might she cease from ministrations 
of love. To lead Isabel from the room, and to 
still her hysterical sobs, was an easier task than 
to appease the vehement self- upbrai dings which 
followed. Isabel tore down with a sort of 
loathing the crushed and faded blossoms of 
scarlet geranium which still decked her hair, and 
trampled them under her feet. 

' In these miserable vanities I took delight/ 
she said, '^ while you watched and waited, and 
she asked why we did not come.^ 

' She saw and knew you. Her last earthly 
thought was yom's and David's/ said Ruth, 
gently. 

D 2 



36 STILL WATERS. 

But the bitterness of IsabeVs remorse turned 
all to gall. 

* You do well to grudge it to us_, Ruth ; that 
last look should have been yours/ 

' Dear Isabel/ said E-uth^ ' you must not say 
such cruel words. There was love enough for 
all — such love as we shall never know again ; 
but its memory will serve to bind us closer to 
each other. And if you think of all her suf- 
ferings_, of the long hours of sleepless pain and 
weariness^ and then of that smile which told 
how she entered into her rest, you will thank 
God with me that He gave her to us for so 
long, and that He has now taken her to Him- 
self.^ 

^ I must tell you all, Ruth/ said her sister ; 
' and then you will understand how even these 
thouc^hts can brino; no comfort. I shall never 
forgive myself for not giving up this visit. I 
wished to go, and so refused to see how anxious 
you were, and chose to believe what Da^dd said, 
who was really deceived by Mr. BalFs opinion.' 

' You went to please David rather than your- 
self/ said Ruth ; ' and you must not embitter 
his grief by dwelling too much on the loss of 
these few days. We must all feel how im- 
perfectly we loved her^ and how little we prized 



STILL WATERS. Zl 

the blessing as we might have done — as we 
should do now, if life could be lived over again/ 
' You have no cause to feel this, Euth.' 
'You little know,' said Ruth. 'But we 
must take this as part of the trial, dear^ and 
be patient/ 

Ruth's self-command did not desert her 
throughout the ensuing week, although there 
was much to try her, and especially in her 
intercourse with David. His grief was genuine 
and touching ; for he had loved his mother 
fondly, and he so little contemplated such an 
end of her lingering illness, that her death 
came to him as a sudden shock. But he was 
of an age when men scarcely know what to 
do with grief. Unable to control it, and yet 
ashamed of its expression, he often took refuge 
in sullen silence, and sat for hours, listlessly 
turning over the leaves of a book. Then again 
he would try to talk of indifferent matters, 
generally breaking down in the attempt, or he 
endeavoured to distract his mind by dwelling 
with restless solicitude on the details of their 
mourning, or the arrangements for the funeral. 
Sometimes he entered into discussion of their 
future plans ; and to Ruth this was most pain- 
ful of all. The way in which she recoiled from 



38 STILL WATERS. 

the subject proved that her apparent calmness 
only veiled an aching desolation of heart. She 
could not look forward, nor take any interest 
in the long, long life before her. David and 
Isabel clung to each other ; and this brought 
home, as her mother had foretold, a keen sense 
of isolation. Already, ^vhen she constrained 
herself to give her mind to the plan proposed 
by David, she was obliged to differ from him, 
and therefore of necessity from Isabel. 

David^s plan was this. That, as the dimi- 
nution of their income by their mother's death 
rendered the Red House and garden too large 
for their means, his sisters should move to a 
small cottage just outside the park-gates of 
Dyne Court, which Sir John was anxious to let. 
This had been Clara's suggestion, whom he had 
seen in one of her numerous visits of inquiry, 
and she was wild about the scheme. Isabel 
was also in favour of it, since she had always 
disliked Holmdale, and she considered that 
their only tie to it would be broken by the 
necessity of forsaking their present home. 
Kuth said little, only pleading that there was 
no need to decide hastily, since they could not 
give up their house until Christmas. To which 
David replied that, if Mr. Dunn took the lease 



STILL WATERS. 39 

off their hands, as he was disposed to do^ they 
might move at once. 

The funeral took place on Saturday; and 
although Dr. Berkeley was the only person 
whom Da\TLd had requested to attend, there 
were many others there, and not townspeople 
alone, for Sir John and his nephew rode over 
from Dyne Court at the appointed hour. 

^ The attention was very well taken/ Sir 
John remarked, as they rode home after the 
ceremony. ' Young Lennox seemed quite af- 
fected by it. I had no opportunity of speaking 
to those poor girls, and I was quite shocked to 
see them there. One of them, at any rate, 
would have been much better at home. I 
could not see through their crape veils whether 
it was Ruth or Isabel who cried so terribly.' 

' Isabel, of course,' said Evelyn ; ' you would 
not suspect the other of any exhibition of 
feeling.' 

' Well,' said Sir John, ' I should think that 
Euth must be most affected by her mother's 
death. Clara tells me that her devotion and 
tenderness were quite remarkable.' 

^Miss Lennox is much too conscientious to 
give way,' said Evelyn, with a slight sneer ; 
^ but I must sav that I admired her impassive 



40 STILL WATERS. 

manner to-day, for such violent emotion is net 
seemly in public/ 

And at that verj^ time Isabel learned from 
David what her blinding tears had not suffered 
her to see, that Captain Gascoigne was among 
those gathered round the grave. She heard it 
in silence, but with a thrill of mingled feelmg, 
and more than once in that long comfortless 
day the thought recurred to her that he felt 
with and for her in this sorrow. 



STILL WATERS. 41 



CHAPTER IV. 

It is not that our later years 

Of cares are woven wholly ; 
But smiles less swiftly chase the tears, 
And wounds are healed more slowly, 
And memory's vow 
To lost ones now 
Makes joys too bright unholy. 

E. B. Lytton. 

T\Il. BERKELEY had not spoken to Ruth, 
-■-^ and had only seen her at the funeral 
since the day of her mother's death ; hut he 
ventured to join her as she walked back from 
church on Sunday mornings her brother and 
sister having started for a walk in the opposite 
direction. Ruth answered his inquiries after 
herself briefly and with indifference^ and then 
made some remark on the weather, and it 
seemed that neither of them ventured to allude 
to the subject which filled the hearts of both ; 
yet, when the Doctor would have taken leave 
at the door of the Red House, Ruth asked him 
to come in. 



42 STILL WATERS. 

' If it will not be too much for you/ he 
said. 

' Oh no ; or shall we go into the garden, 
which is pleasanter ?' 

Ruth led the way there, and silently ac- 
quiesced in the Doctor's suggestion that they 
should sit down on the sunny stone bench 
below the window. And as she sat, idly 
tracing figures on the gravel with the point of 
her parasol, and bending forward, so that even 
her profile was hidden by the folds of her crape 
veil, she made, in a grave, calm voice, the 
acknowledgment she had brought him there to 
hear. 

' I wished to thank you, Dr. Berkeley, for 
all that you did for us on that day. If I had 
only sent a messenger to Wentworth Lodge, 
time must have been lost, and I don't know 
how Isabel would have borne it if they had 
been too late.' 

' You will believe me, !Miss Lennox/ replied 
the Doctor, in a tone by no means so com- 
posed as her own, ' that, however much I felt 
for her and David, I chiefly desired to spare 
you — of whom no one, and yourself least of 
ail, appears to think.^ 

* I shall do very well,' said Ruth, as if 



STILL TYATERS. 43 

slie had liad enougli of the subject. But 
Dr. Berkeley felt that he must go on now he 
had begun. 

^ Do not suspect me of any intention to 
forfeit my pledge,, or imagine that I am selfish 
and unfeeling enough to trouble you with 
hopes and fears which are out of keeping with 
your own sad thoughts. But^ as a friend, you 
must permit me to take some interest in your 
future life, and Da\^d tells me that I am 
named as IsabePs guardian^ which surely gives 
me some claim to your confidence.^ 

' You need not find so many good reasons/ 
said Ruth ; ^ she wished us to take counsel 
with you.^ 

^ Then you will not think me officious^ if I 
ask whether it is true that you think of giving 
up this house, and taking the cottage by Dyne 
Court ? Dunn told me^ and he had it from 
Sir John.^ 

^ They have been talking of it,^ said Buth -, 
' but nothing is settled yet.' 

' And you do not wish it, I am sure.' 

'I do not know. I shall be sorry to leave 
this place ; but otherwise I do not care what 
happens.' 

^ You ought to care/ said Dr. Berkeley^ and^ 



44 STILL WATERS. 

lover though he was, there was soraething 
paternal in the tone of the advice,, and as such 
it was received by Ruth. 

' I know I ought — so I will make a fresh 
start on Monday morning/ 

' Why not begin at once, and try to find 
out what you wish? I know that now life 
must seem to be without an object, but you 
will cast about for fresh interests, and these 
are more likely to spring up in Holmdale/ 

' So I have thought, in walking through the 
by-streets, where so much might be done. 
But Isabel, poor child, has a restless desire to 
leave the town.' 

' And you think this a sufficient reason for 
giving up your old home ?' 

' We must move somewhere, for we cannot 
afford to keep up this house and garden.' 

' If you wished it. Miss Lennox, nothing 
would be more easy.' 

Ruth did not comprehend his meaning, and 
she said, with a smile, ' You have still to learn 
a guardian's duties, if you begin your career 
by advising an act of imprudence.' 

' I only wish to use a guardian's privilege 
in solving the difficulty. You know how far 
my expenses are from coming up to my in- 



STILL WATERS. 4^; 

come^ and what pleasure it would give me to 
apply any portion of it to your convenience/ 

Euth coloured, but replied promptly, and 
with decision, ^ Such an alternative, Dr. 
Berkeley, would appear to my brother and 
sister, as to myself, neither easy nor difficult, 
but simply impossible.^ 

Mortified and disappointed, the Doctor 
made no attempt to urge his request; and 
when Ruth perceived how deeply he was 
wounded, she felt constrained to soften the 
pain of refusal. 

' I did not mean to be ungracious,^ she 
said; ^for indeed I am not ungrateful. But 
it will be really better to break np our esta- 
blishment at once, for we shall only feel un- 
settled until it is done, and the change will be 
an interest and occupation for Isabel, though I 
don^t mind confessing to you my disinclina- 
tion for this cottage of Sir John's. Perhaps 
you may find an opportunity of talking it over 
with David.^ 

The Doctor thanked her for the permission 
so warmly, that Ruth almost wished to retract 
it. She felt languid and ill, and quite unequal 
to the task of weighing her words with the 
care which their intercourse demanded, and 



46 STILL WATERS. 

Dr. Berkeley took leave as soon as he per- 
ceived the expression of weariness which crept 
over her face. 

Ruth went up-stairs^ and had just laid her- 
self on her bed^ when a quick, light step was 
followed by a knock she knew too well, and 
although she would have given much to avert 
the intrusion, there was no resource, and Clara 
entered before the permission was faii'ly spoken. 

' My dear child '/ she said, in a tone but 
one degrge graver than usual, ' I am so glad 
I made my way in. That Cerberus of yours 
tried to turn me with ignominy from the 
door, but I was certain you would see me, 
especially since I had discretion enough to 
start without telling Evelyn anything about it. 
So he went out with papa, and now I have 
sent the carriage away, and I mean to stay 
and go to church with you.^ 

' I don^t think I shall be able to go back 
to church,^ said Ruth. 

^Now, don^t be ungracious,^ said Clara, im- 
ploringly. ^ I mean to be very good and quiet, 
and not tire you in the least. So lay your 
head down on the pillow again, and let me talk. 
I declare,^ she continued, as Ruth complied with 
the request^ ^ you don^t look one bit better.^ 



STILL WATERS. 47 

' Wliat did you expect ?' said Ruth, smiling 
faintly. 

^ You ought at least to feel less tired, now 
that your nights are unbroken/ 

' Unbroken '/ Euth repeated, with an expres- 
sion of pain. ' You little know.^ 

' How should I know, Ruth, when you never 
tell me anything V 

' I only mean that the nights are the worst 
of all. If I sleep for five minutes together, I 
wake with a start, thinking I hear her bell or 
her low voice calling me. And I shall never 
hear it more !^ 

She turned her face away and burst into 
tears, and Clara, strangely moved, as once be- 
fore, by the unwonted betrayal of feeling, clung 
round her with caressing tenderness. 

'^Do not cry, dear Ruth, for I would do 
anything to comfort you. It is no wonder 
you feel so wretched if you don^t sleep, and 
it is enough to give you a fever or some- 
thing of that sort. Change of air would be 
best, and I think that you had better come to 
Dyne Court at once.^ 

No suggestion could have had a more seda- 
tive effect, for Ruth checked her tears to com- 
bat it. But no efforts could dispel an idea 



48 STILL WATERS. 

whicli liad once taken possession of Clara's 
mind. 

' I am sure it would be a good plan. We 
are quite alone now, and you shall have your 
own rooms up-stairs_, and be as quiet as you 
please. I shall ask Mr. Lennox as soon as 
ever he comes home.' 

' Pray do not, Clara.' 

^ There is no harm asking/ said Clara, with 
one of her wayward smiles. 

' There is no use, however/ said Ruth, sit- 
ting up, and speaking resolutely; '^for I shall 
not go, whatever David says.' 

^T shall make him send for Mr. Ball, and 
you must do as he tells you. Then we can 
settle this charming plan about the cottage ; 
you will see what alterations it needs, and Papa 
shall do whatever you fancy. It is all for 
your good,' Clara added, as Ruth looked vexed, 
and forbore to argue the point ; ^ and I should 
like so much to take care of you.' 

^For a day and a half; and then you would 
tire of me, as you did of that tame linnet ; do 
you remember ?' 

'A^Tiich Mr. Clinton caught and tamed, and 
you found it almost starved ? Yes, I do re- 
member the lecture visited upon me on that 



STILL WATERS. 49 

occasion,, but I shall not starve you, ox, at any 
rate, Isabel will be at hand to repair my negli- 
gence/ 

' Will you come to luncheon, Ruth V said 
Isabel, half opening the door of the room. She 
had not been informed of Clara^s presence 
there, and as soon as she perceived her she 
stopped short, and the colour rushed into her 
face ; but she di'ove back the tears by a strong 
effort, and shook hands quietly. 

Clara was more struck by the traces grief 
had left on the face she had last seen radiant 
in bright beauty, than by the less marked 
alteration which she saw in Ruth; and she 
said, remorsefully — 

^ I don^t wonder that you hate the sight of 
me, Isabel, but you know that I never guessed 
how it was to be when I asked you to stay 
another day.^ 

^ I know,' said Isabel, shrinking back ; 
* please don't talk of it.' And she sat listlessly 
down beside Ruth, who remarked that she 
seemed tired with her walk. 

'We did not walk far/ Isabel replied, idly 
interlacing her sister's fingers with her ow]i, 
Avhile it was evident that her thoughts were far 
away. It was a new thing for Clara to witness 

VOL. II. E 



50 STILL WATERS. 

sucli absorbing grief, and she recoiled from 
emotion so micongenial to her own temper. 
And Euth perceived and indulged the feeling, 
asking whether she would not take compassion 
on David, who must wonder what they were 
all about. 

' I will go/ said Clara, springing up ; and 
she thought the brightening smile with which 
David acknowledged the ' unexpected happi- 
ness' contrasted pleasantly with the two sad 
and tear-stained faces from which she had just 
parted. He quite entered into her scheme of 
removing his sisters to Dyne Court, although 
not sanguine of his success in overcoming 
EutVs disinclination to agree to it. 

But in truth reason was for once on Clara's 
side. As the day wore on, Ruth's strength 
flagged more and more, and it was necessary to 
put Clara's playful threat into execution, and 
call in IMr. Ball. And her triumph was com- 
plete when Isabel wrote that he prescribed 
change of air and scene, and advised her re- 
moval to Dyne Court, until she had regained 
strength to undertake a longer journey. ^ I 
don't know whether you intended me to go 
with her,' Isabel rather bluntly concluded her 
note, ^ but I really don't think Ruth is fit to go 



STILL WATEKS. 5 1 

alone. She grows weaker and more languid 
every day/ 

' Of coui'se I expect you all three/ Clara 
wrote in answer ; ^ and I have made papa put 
off one or two people who were coming, that 
the house may be quiet. Evelyn is still here^ 
but he, you know, is one of the family.^ 

The good people of Holmdale were rather 
scandalized by this visit to Dyne Com-t. It 
was surprising that Ruth should be equal to 
the overflowing spmts and liveliness of Miss 
Gascoigne, when she refused to receive the 
visits of her old friends, and Miss Perrott 
feared that she had weakly yielded to the 
eagerness of her brother and sister to pursue 
their respective flirtations, indecorous as it was, 
after their recent loss. But Isabel, at all 
events, was wronged by the imputation of any 
ulterior designs, for she looked forward to her 
meeting with Captain Gascoigne with unmixed 
pain, feeling that it would have been a relief to 
know that he was gone. The light, sparkling 
talk, which had seemed so pleasant at the time, 
would now be out of tune, and she had some 
misgi^^ngs whether there were any graver 
thoughts in resen^e. Nor did Evelyn appear 
to be much delighted with this opportunity of 

E 2, 

LIBRARY 
UNiVERSITYOFiMM 



5^ STILL WATERS. 

renewing their intercourse ; at least when Clara 
showed him the note in which Isabel begged 
that the carriage might be sent for them on 
the following day, he only raised his eyebrows, 
and asked whether he must measure his condo- 
lence by the depth of that black border. 

On the morrow, however, the carriage came 
up the approach as Evelyn came in from shoot- 
ing, and he gave his gun to the keeper, and 
hastened on, so as to be the first to reach 
the colonnade. IsabeFs fancied indifierence 
vanished when she found her hand fast locked 
in hisj yet she drew back, and said that she 
must take care of E-uth. 

^ In that charge you have been anticipated,' 
said Evelyn, as David gave his arm to his 
sister, and Clara followed. ' Come and take a 
turn in the garden ; it is a beautiful afternoon/ 

' I had better — I would rather see that Ruth 
is settled comfortably,' said Isabel. 

' I came home from shooting an hour earlier 
than usual with a view to our walk,' said 
Evelyn, and Isabel answered with hesitation — 

^ I will come down again if I can, but in- 
deed I must go to Ruth now. She is so 
weak, and Clara will only weary her with kind- 
ness.' 



STILL WATERS. 53. 

' Your sister looks mucli as usual/ 
Isabel no longer hesitated, but answered 
with indignant quickness — 

* So people say, forgetting that she was ever 
otherwise, because all looks of health have been 
worn away so long. She never spared herself, 
and now our doctor says that nature must have 
her revenge, and that the fatigue which was 
kept under for the time, is telling now. Oh ! 
I have been so worried by the townspeople 
making their way in, wanting to see Ruth, and 
exhorting me not to let her give way or in- 
dulge a morbid love of seclusion, I could not 
breathe freely till we left the last house behind 
us.' 

' And now you think me as bad as the 
townspeople ?' 

* Not quite,' Isabel answered, rather de- 
murely ; and Evelyn acknowledged the compli- 
ment with a smile. 

' Then,' he resumed, when she was again 
about to leave him, ' you will come back in a 
few minutes, or I shall certainly think that you 
put me in the same class as the United Ser- 
\dce.' 

' I don't know; I suppose I shaU come down 
in the evening.' 



54 STILL WATEKS. 

^ In the evening ? I quite understood that 
you would be at dinner/ 

'Not if Ruth would like to have me with 
her/ 

' You think of nothing but Kuth/ said Cap- 
tain Gascoigne^ with a playful inflection of his 
voice ; but Isabel was startled, and not quite 
pleased by the familiar appellation. She had 
stooped to caress the glossy brown pointer 
which crouched and curled at her feet, and she 
raised her head with an air of unconscious 
dignity as she replied — 

' My sister needs all our care/ 

'Well/ said Captain Gascoigne, lightly, 'I 
hope that duty need not interfere with the 
pleasure of seeing you at dinner/ And whistling 
to his dogs, he sauntered on, while Isabel stiU 
stood leaning against a column, her clasped 
hands flung down, her eyes also downcast, per- 
haps to restrain the tears with which their full 
lids were charged. The sense of loneliness and 
depression which she had vainly hoped to leave 
behind her at Holmdale was as keenly felt as 
ever. 

She was remorseful for having lingered so 
long, when she roused herself from a dream to 
go up-stairs. The door of Clara's boudoir was 



STILL WATERS. 55 

open Tvhen slie passed along the corridor^ and 
Clara herself was there^ displaying to Da^id the 
trinkets and ornaments with which the tables 
were loaded. He was duly sensible of the 
distinction of being admitted to her own pecu- 
liar sitting-room, and he examined every gold 
pen and etui with a care which tended to 
prolong the pleasure^ while he informed Isabel 
that they had left Ruth to rest, and that she 
had better see if she was in need of anything. 

Ruth was not resting, for, like many ex- 
cellent nm'ses, she was a very unmanageable 
patient ; and because she felt peculiarly ill, and 
tired by her drive, she set to work to unpack 
and arrange the contents of the portmanteau, 
in which employment she was sm'prised by 
Isabel. 

' I thought you might come in late,^ she 
said, anticipating her sister^s reproaches, ^ and 
then you would not be ready for dinner/ 

Isabel did not vouchsafe to reply until she 
had constrained Ruth, with a force which she 
was too weary to resist, to lie down on the 
sofa, and then she asked — 

' ^lust I go to dinner V 

' I think so, dear,' said Ruth, a little sm'- 
prised by her unwillingness ; ^ Clara seems to 



56 STILL WATERS. 

expect it^ and Sir John will be vexed if we are 
neither of us there. ]\Iy head aches so much 
that I cannot sit through it to-night/ 

^ Of course not/ said Isabel, as she lightly- 
laid her hand on her sister^s feverish brows ; 
' Mr. Ball says you are not to think of appear- 
ing except for a drive. And you will not let 
me stay and take care of you ?' 

' I will engage to lie quiet till you come up 
again/ said Ruth ; ^ but I think that we must 
live with the family, as we have come here. Of 
course it would be different if there were 
strangers in the house.' 

' Captain Gascoigne is here/ said Isabel ; 
and as her sister looked perplexed and anxious, 
she went on hurriedly : ' Last time we spoke 
of him I was very ungracious and unreason- 
able ; but now, Ruth, I should like to tell you 
how it really is. He is not changed, and he 
was the same all through that ^dsit to the 
Lodge. It makes me sick now to think how 
happy I was that last afternoon when he made 
me walk with him to the garden after the 
others had gone in, and he gathered the scarlet 
geranium which you know I still wore. And 
even now I cannot hear his voice without a 
sort of happiness which is worse than pain. 



STILL WATERS. ^-J 

because I know that it is heartless and unfeel- 
ing ; and yet I cannot answer him lightly^ nor 
laugh and talk, as he seems to expect_, and I 
don't like to vex him_, so I would rather keep 
away/ 

' It must be painful/ said Ruth ; ' but there 
would be something marked in avoiding all 
intercom'se while you are lining in the same 
house. And_, besides, the instinct of love must 
teach him to understand and enter into your 
mood.^ 

Ruth would not dispirit her sister still far- 
ther by expressing a fear lest that instinct 
should be wanting, but Isabel could draw the 
inference for herself. She sighed, and set about 
the task of preparing for dinner with the lan- 
guor which arises from weariness of spirit. 



58 STILL WATERS. 



CHAPTER V. 

I class'd, appraising once, 
Earth's lamentable sounds — the well-a-day, 

The jarring yea and nay. 
The fall of kisses on unanswering clay, 
The sobb'd farewell, the welcome mournfuller ; 

But all did leaven the air 
With a less bitter leaven of sure despair 

Than these words — ' I loved once.' 

E. B. BEOWNiNa. 

ONE morning, shortly after the arrival of 
their visitors, Sir John called Clara back, 
when she was leaving the breakfast-room, and 
asked if she had leisure to speak to him for a 
few moments. A certain solemnity in his tone 
prepared Clara for a paternal lecture, nor was 
she at a loss for its subject ; but she carelessly 
assented, and followed her father into his study. 
She reclined in a rocking-chair, impatiently 
tapping her little foot on the ground as she 
moved to and fro, while Sir John stood with 
his back planted against the mantelpiece and 
his coat-tails under his arms; and then he 
cleared his throat, and began — 



STILL WATERS. 59 

*" How is Miss Lennox this morning V 

' Ratter better ; I liope she may be able to 
drive to the cottage after luncheon^ for nothing 
can be settled until she has seen it/ 

' I dare say there would be many advantages 
in having them settled so near us. Ruth Lennox 
is a very safe friend/ 

^ Very/ said Clara, a little scornfully ; ' as 
steady as old Time_, who, by the way, is the 
fastest gentleman of my acquaintance/ 

^ As you say,^ returned Sir John, ^ Time is 
getting on, and you are of an age to be less 
heedless than before. Young Lennox is a good 
sort of young man — gentlemanlike, and re- 
markably well-looking ; but you should not 
allow the pleasure of his society to run away 
with your discretion. I am afraid that even 
less encouragement would incline him to che- 
rish hopes which can never be fulfilled, and 
your names begin to be spoken of together in 
the county.^ 

' Only now, papa ? I should have thought 
that the wedding-day had been fixed long ago.' 

' And Evelyn,^ continued Sir John, ' seems 
to fancy that this is a more serious afiair than 
usual. ^ 

This reference to her cousin seemed to 



6o STILL WATERS. 

awaken more interest in the discussion tlian 
Clara had yet evinced ; but though she raised 
her eyes^ which were before half closed, she 
only said, carelessly — 

' Does Evelyn think so ? He ought to know, 
for he has great experience in flirtations/ 

^ My dear Clara '/ said Sir John, not un- 
naturally roused from his habitual equanimity, 
' will you give me a straightforward answer, 
and tell me your motive in distinguishing David 
Lennox with such peculiar favour V 

' He amuses me,^ said Clara. 

Sir John looked relieved, though he thought 
it necessary to take a high moral ground. 

' Then it is a mere idle flirtation ? I thought 
as much, and, as I said just now, it is quite 
time you should learn to have some considera- 
tion for other people. That was the way you 
went on with Lynmere, and he does not seem 
to get over it at all. I declare it makes me 
quite miserable to see him.' 

' Then suppose we drop the acquaintance. 
I am rather tired of the Knight of the Sorrow- 
ful Countenance.' 

'Without feeling any remorse for his dis- 
appointment ! And now it will be just the 
same thing wdth Lennox.' 



STILL WATERS. 6 1 

^ How do you know that, papa ? Perhaps, 
for the sake of proving that Evelyn is infallible, 
I may think it my duty to fall in love with 
him.^ 

' I see, Clara, that there is no use talking to 
you/ 

' Indeed, papa V said Clara, yawning. ' I 
thought it must be useful, because it was so 
very disagreeable. But if you have really 
nothing more to say, I will go up and see 
whether Ruth is disposed for a drive.^ 

The only apparent result of this conversa- 
tion consisted in a still better understanding 
between Clara and David Lennox. Rain set 
in at twelve o^clock, defeating all projects for 
the afternoon, and Clara challenged David 
to a game at billiards, which lasted an un- 
reasonable time. In his newly-awakened fit 
of prudence. Sir John fidgeted in and out, 
trying what he could do to prevent the two 
young people from being left so much to- 
gether. He went in search of Isabel, but she 
was up-stairs with Ruth ; and then he applied 
to his nephew, to go and mark for them, but 
Evelyn continued to read the Times, saying 
that he did not imagine that his services were 
required. 



62 STILL WATEKS. 

Later in the afternoon, Isabel came down to 
the drawing-room, considering that the wet 
weather would secure them against visitors, and 
she was interested in a discussion between 
Captain Gascoigne and her brother, respecting 
the improvements of which the cottage was 
capable, although less in favour of settling 
there than when the plan was first proposed. 
Evelyn had just taken up a pencil to illustrate 
his ideas, when Lord Raeburn was announced, 
whom Isabel was by no means disposed to en- 
counter, and she made her escape by the door 
opening into the libraiy. She fastened on a 
book, and sat there a good while, only rousing 
herself to throw up the window, when a gleam 
of watery sunshine struggled through the 
clouds, and she did not discover that Captain 
Gascoigne and Lord Raeburn had come into 
the colonnade with their cigars. After taking 
one or two turns, they sat down on a stone 
bench, just below the window, and her atten- 
tion was first arrested by the sound of her own 
name. 

' I thought,^ said Lord Raeburn, taking the 
cigar from his mouth, ' that the fail- Isabel 
would show.' 

^ Pair ?' Evelyn repeated ; ' that is not a 



STILL WATERS. 63 

Tvell-cliosen epithet. You don't miss much — 
she is triste even with me^ and the effect of 
much crape and many tears is not happy/ 

^ I don't think the worse of her for that/ 
rejoined Lord Kaeburn. ^ I like these im- 
pulsive beings, since then, at least, one may be 
certain that they keep a heart — an organ in 
which some young ladies of my acquaintance 
are altogether deficient/ 

^ Meaning my cousin Clara. You have not 
touched the right chord, that is all/ said Evelyn, 
carelessly. 

' I have lost all wish to try. But I can tell 
you, Gascoigne, that if you were a less for- 
midable rival, I should enter the lists against 
you.' 

'You are welcome/ replied Evelyn. 'I 
intend to retire from the field as soon as I can 
do so gracefully. And really you could not 
do better, since you are lucky enough to be 
independent of ways and means. I should be 
glad to see the Gitaiia so well provided for, 
since it would be a pity to leave such queenly 
beauty to be wasted on some gentleman farmer 
or country apothecary.' 

There was something in this speech to oflend 
even Lord Kaeburn's feelings, which were far 



64 STILL WATERS. 

from being peculiarly sensitive. He threw 
away the end of his cigar with a gesture of 
impatience, observing that he should go and 
join LennoXj whom he saw upon the terrace. 

Captain Gascoigne was not long left to the 
enjoyment of his own meditations^ for his 
name was spoken in a voice he did not at first 
recognise^ and he turned his head to find Isabel 
by his side. All his habitual coolness did not 
enable him to parry the indignant scorn flash- 
ing from those dark eyes ; he stood up_, and 
waited for her to speak. 

' I wished to tell you/ said Isabel, ^ that I 
was in the library, and heard all that passed 
between Lord Raeburn and yourself — involun- 
tarily at first; but when I discovered that I 
was myself the subject of discussion^ I had the 
meanness to wait and hear the end. And now 
I have to thank you for your good offices.^ 

Evelyn was perfectly confounded, and re- 
plied with hesitation : ^ You misunderstood me 
— you take up the matter too seriously. Was 
it likely that I should express my real senti- 
ments to such a conceited puppy as Raeburn V 

^ People do not usually feign sentiments 
which do them so little credit,^ said Isabel. 

* And, after all/ continued Evelyn, recover- 



STILL WATERS. 65 

ing some assurance, ^you must not judge me 
too severely. !My unhappy position as captain 
in a marching regiment, without independent 
means, will not permit me to consult my own 
inclinations ; and I wanted resolution to tell 
you sooner that I am compelled to fall in with 
Sir John^s wishes, who destines me to be his 
son-in-law/ 

' Indeed V said Isabel. 

' You look incredulous, !Miss Lennox ; and, 
indeed, there has been nothing in my relations 
with my cousin to give colour to such an in- 
tention. But you do not know Clara so well 
as I do.^ 

^ It is enough,^ said Isabel, clasping her 
hands upon her beating heart, for her powers 
of endurance were well-nigh spent ; ^ I have no 
wish to penetrate Clara^s sentiments, and I 
must again apologize for having unwittingly 
led you to disclose your own.^ 

^Do not say so,^ said Captain Gascoigne, 
still detaining her when she attempted to pass ; 
' you know that I ought rather to ask your 
forgiveness. And if we can no longer be to 
each other what we were, say at least that v»e 
part friends.^ 

' As friends !' Isabel repeated, in a tone of 

VOL. II. F 



65 STILL WATERS. 

bitter irony; and Evelyn bowed — and not in 
mockery, bnt with gennine admiration for her 
haughty and commanding beauty — as he stood 
aside and suffered her to pass. 

Isabel re-entered the library, but she did 
not tarry there ; she hurried up the broad, 
shallow-stepped stair to her own room, and 
secured the door against intrusion. And then 
the expression of every muscle of her face was 
changed — the light of her eyes quenched in 
blinding tears, and the pride of haughty defi- 
ance lost in an agony of shame and humilia- 
tion. The tones of Evelyn^s voice, easy and 
unconcerned as ever, still rang in her ears, as 
he had transferred his claim to her love with 
careless condescension to another. And the 
insult seemed more marked by the assurance 
that Clara Gascoigne was to be the next object 
of pursuit, and the quiet assumption that he 
could not sue in vain. ^ And I loved him/ 
thought Isabel, — '^ oh, how blindly ! — I could 
more readily have believed myself untrue than 
him.' 

There was a knock at the door, and David 
asked to be admitted, so Isabel hastily washed 
away her tears and complied with the request. 
But the traces of such violent emotion were 



STILL WATERS. 67 

not SO easily effaced, and David remarked them 
with gentle upbraiding : ^ 'Mj dear child ! no 
wonder you grow dispirited^ moping here all 
the afternoon. Come down to the terrace with 
me, for there is still time for a turn before 
dinner/ 

^ It is late/ said Isabel. 

^ Yes ; so I shall not have time to tire you/ 

'And Lord Raeburn is here.^ 

'No; I knew you would not care to see 
him, so I waited till he was gone — much to his 
discomfiture, let me tell you. Do come out — 
it is really a fine afternoon.' 

Isabel could not withstand her brother's 
importunity, and he waited while she sought 
out cloak and goloshes, gaily declaring that he 
did not dare lose sight of her, lest her resolu- 
tion should fail. They went down together to 
the west terrace, and David was in high spi- 
rits ; he admired the sunset, and predicted a 
return of good weather ; and he pointed out the 
picturesque effect of a group of cedars, their 
broad and massive foliage looking black against 
the glowing sky. But Isabel's replies were 
brief, and often inconsequent, and at last he 
said, a little impatiently — 

'Xow, Isabel, it is your turn to contribute 
F 2 



68 STILL WATERS. 

something to tlie entertainment of the walk ; 
you are more sad than ever/ 

Isabel started^ and said that it had been a 
long, rainy day. 

' I have not found it long/ said David ; ^and 
we had our own peculiar sunshine at home, so 
that I was perfectly indifferent to the weather 
out of doors/ 

The allusion failed to rouse Isabel, and, after 
walking a few paces further, David thought fit 
to speak plainly — 

' My leave expires next month, and I cannot 
go without knowing my fate/ 

' You mean to speak to Clara V 

' And to Sir John — that is the worst part of 
the business/ 

^Yes,^ said Isabel; but her assent was too 
indifferent to satisfy her brother, and he said, 
quickly — 

^ I don^t believe that you are attending, 
Isabel, or that you care in the least what may 
happen to me/ 

' Oh, David '/ exclaimed Isabel, the tears 
starting to her eyes in her eagerness to dis- 
claim the accusation. ' I do care, indeed ; and 
I am sure that Clara will never find another to 
love her so well.^ 



STILL WATERS. 6g 

' That is true/ said David^ with kindling 
eyes, ' and T think Clara feels it. You must 
see, Isabel, how she appeals to me in every- 
thing. V^e continued to discuss the plans for 
the cottage after Raeburn came in, and if I 
differed either from him or Gascoigne, she 
always took part with me. I cannot endure 
suspense much longer; but when once assured 
of her love, the opposition we are likely to 
meet Avith from Sir John will not daunt me. I 
can wait patiently for years.^ 

Isabel saw that his sanguine temper would 
not permit him to contemplate the reverse of 
the picture, and any attempt to moderate his 
expectations was set aside with indignant quick- 
ness. So she fulfilled the part of a sympa- 
thizing listener as well as she could, glad to 
be released when David at last discovered that 
her step was slow and languid, and that it was 
not advisable to linger in the chill evening air. 
Isabel crept up to her room again, and knew 
not how long she had sat alone and in the 
dark, until Ruth came in with a candle, and 
then she started up, and said remorsefully — 

' Oh, Ruth ! I have never come near you 
this whole afternoon.' 

'1 saw that you and David were having a 



70 STILL WATEI^S. 

good walk on the terrace/ said Rutli, ' and I 
was very comfortable and quiet until towards 
dressing-time, when Clara came in for a gossip. 
But do you know that it is just dinner-time V 
' I did not know it was so late/ said Isabel, 
as she unfastened her cloak, and began her pre- 
parations for dressing in a dreamy w^ay which 
attracted Ruth's attention. 

' I thiuk/ she said, ' you were asleep when I 
came in/ 

' No, not asleep.' 

^ Only tired/ said Ruth, tenderly. ^ David 
should not have kept you out so long. I am 
to be the brisk one to-night, for Clara declares 
that I am well enough to go down to dinner, 
and I believe I am.' 

Isabel said that she was glad, and she felt 
that her sister's presence would be some pro- 
tection. They went down together, and Ruth's 
first appearance in the drawing-room made 
quite a sensation ; it was natural that Evelyn 
should address himself to her, while Isabel sat 
still and silent, and tightly clasping her sister's 
hand, which hung passively by her side. Sir 
John was also profuse in his inquiries, but it 
did not occur to Isabel until dinner was an- 
nounced and he gave his arm to the elder 



STILL WATERS. 7 1 

sister^ that she must go in with Captain Gas- 
coigne. There was a moment's hesitation, and 
not on Isabels side alone, but when Clara said 
lightly, ' Well, Isabel, we wait your pleasure/ 
she could delay no longer, and she passed her 
hand within Captain Gascoigne's arm. 

As they crossed the hall he hoped that she 
had not suffered from her late walk, and she 
answered, ' Not at all, thank you '/ in a tone 
quiet and steady as his own. 

At dinner Evelyn talked across the table to 
Ruth, to whom he found more to say than in 
all their previous acquaintance ; and though it 
cost Ruth an effort to talk at all, since the 
lights and voices made her dizzy, she responded 
as well as she could, thinking that it would 
please Isabel. 

And Isabel was unmolested, except that 
Clara said suddenly — 

' Ever since we sat down to dinner, Isabel, 
I have been wondering what made you look so 
unlike yourself, and now I see that it is the 
way you have done your hair.' 

^Yes,' said Isabel, thankful to accept the 
reason she had suggested ; ' my curls fell out 
in our wet walk, and I went to dress so late 
that I could only put them away.^* 



72 STILL WATERS. 

She hardly spoke again for the rest of the 
eveniug^ but Euth had not seen her before in 
society^, and she did not discover that her spirits 
were more than -usnally depressed. The sisters 
■vTere not alone together, for Kuth "went np to 
her room early in the evening, and Isabel 
chose to think it better not to disturb her 
again. In truth she recoiled from the confes- 
sion which must be made, sooner or later. 



STILL WATERS. 73 



CHAPTER VI. 

Mein dunkles Herz liebt dich, 

Es liebt dich, und es bricht, 

Und bricht und zuckt und verblutet, 

Aber du siehst es nicht. 

H. Hei>-e. 

"P^'TH paid for her evening^s dissipation 
-L^ with a sleepless night, and a headache so 
severe that she was nnable to lift her head 
from the pillow. "When Isabel went in with 
her morning greeting, she could only darken 
the rooms_, and leave her sister in peace, defer- 
ring for the present the communication which 
she had to make. 

Though Isabels curls clustered round her 
face as usual_, she did not look much more like 
herself^ and Clara observed her depression, and 
applied herself to dissipate it -with gay good 
humour. ' You must have a ride,^ she said ; 
' we will order the horses at twelve, for it may- 
rain this afternoon, and one or both of the 
gentlemen will be delighted to be your squire.' 

^ If vou can command Lennox's services, 



74 STILL WATERS. 

perhaps mine may be dispensed with/ said 
Evelyn ; ^ I have designs on the pheasants/ 

' Mr. Lennox is more accommodating/ said 
Clara ; and the hint was enough for David, 
although he was disappointed to find that she 
was not to he of the party. Clara declared 
that she must attend to lier household duties, 
and would reserve herself for a walk to the 
cottage in the afternoon ; and Sir John, appa- 
rently occupied in eating toast and reading 
the Time^, was gratified by the playful deter- 
mination with which she resisted David^s im- 
portunity to postpone these domestic cares, re- 
garding it as a concession to a filial duty. 

The rest of the party dispersed, and Evelyn 
Gascoigne was left in untlisturbed possession of 
the breakfast-room and of his own thoughts. 
These were of no pleasing character, for he had 
not recovered his annoyance at the contretemps 
of the previous day. The reserved and quiet 
dignity of Isabel's manner repelled such at- 
tempts at conciliation as he was disposed to 
make, and in his impatience to extricate him- 
self from a false position, his thoughts turned 
towards Clara. 

^ I shall have no difficulty there, he thought ; 
' and thoudi I had not intended to make the 



STILL WATERS. 75 

final plunge so soon, I believe that "vvholesome 
neglect has been carried far enougli. A little 
more pique will entangle lier in an engagement 
witb Lennox, and any opposition from Sir John 
would only rouse her wilful spii'it to persist in it/ 

And he acted promptly on the conclusion to 
which he had arrived, for he laid aside the 
paper, and went up-staii's to seek his cousin. 

After she had driven Piuth almost distracted 
by her restless movements round the room, 
altering her pillows, and begging her to try 
aromatic vinegar, eau de Cologne, and every 
other conceivable remedy which might alle- 
viate the pain, Clara at last retreated to her 
boudoii', to devote the morning to the formi- 
dable pile of tradesmen's books which had 
accumulated on her writing-table. But she 
turned from the distasteful occupation with 
great alacrity when her cousin entered the 
room. 

' So it is only you, Evelyn. I was afraid 
it might be Smith, come to talk about the 
' butcher, the baker, and candlestick-maker,' and 
hope it was all right. Of course it is all right, 
or, if it is all wrong, it does not much signify. 
But I thought you had gone shooting.' 

' I may go out later in the day, to save ap- 



76 STILL WATERS. 

pearances/ said Evelyn ; ' but the truth was, I 
had no desire to ride with Isabel Lennox/ 

' I thought/ said Clara, ' that I was con- 
sulting your inclinations in proposing it/ 

^ Very benevolent of you ; but, as it happens, 
my inclinations lead me to pass the morning 
with you. And so I have come/ 

Clara^s eyes sparkled with the light of tri- 
umph, tempered, however, by some gentler feel- 
ing, as she said — 

' I must say, Evelyn, that you have treated 
Isabel excessively ill/ 

' Not so ill as you have treated her brother/ 

' T do not know what you mean,^ said Clara, 
with rising colour. 

' Then I will make my meaning clear. You 
care as little for David Lennox as I do for 
Isabel ; and it is time this child's play should 
cease. We were children in years when first I 
said that you should be my wife, yet we were 
in earnest. I am in earnest now, and I claim 
your promise.^ 

Evelyn had not misconstrued the nature of 
his cousin's sentiments, veiled as they were by 
her indifierent and flighty manner. The con- 
viction of his indifference had only riveted her 
affections more securely, and now she could 



STILL WATERS. 77 

scarcely believe her own exceeding happiness. 
When Evelyn drew her to his side, she did not 
withdraw from his embrace, but hid her face on 
his shoulder, and burst into tears. 

Isabel came down habited at twelve o'clock, 
and found her brother waiting for her very dis- 
consolately. He complained that Clara had 
not been in the drawing-room since breakfast, 
and that he had seen no one but Sir John, 
who had looked in an hour ago, and informed 
him that he would ride with them as far as 
the farm. A message that the horses were at 
the door brought Sir John from the study, his 
open countenance beaming Avith satisfaction; 
but the cause did not transpire until they had 
ridden some way along the avenue. And then 
he said abruptly — 

' I have been quite taken up all the morn- 
ing, for the thing is onty just settled ; and I 
believe Clara will be best pleased that you 
should hear it from me.' 

Isabel instantly divined the truth ; but David 
said, with perfect unconsciousness — 

' I fancied that there must be some family 
crisis, from the unusual calm which reigned in 
the drawing-room.' 

Sir John felt relieved, imagining that David 



70 STILL WATERS. 

was prepared for the communication he had to 
make. 

^ Then_, perhaps^ you were in Evelyn's con- 
fidence. No one could be more surprised than 
I was to hear of his attachment, and no less, 
that it was returned by Clara.' 

An exclamation broke from David, brief and 
stormy ; but as he rode on IsabeFs other side, 
she trusted that it was unheard by Sir John, 
as well as the hoarse whisper in which he 
added, laying his hand on her horse's neck — 

^ In the name of Heaven_, Isabel, what does 
he mean T 

Isabel's first thought was for her brother. 
For herself she felt that the words which had 
fallen from Evelyn's own lips exhausted the 
capacity of after suffering. Without daring to 
look towards David, she asked, with a face of 
rigid calmness — 

' I don't quite understand. Sir John. Is 
Clara engaged to Captain Gascoigne ?' 

'Even so. No one can accuse Clara of 
trifling this time ; for as soon as Evelyn had 
spoken, they came down to me. "We talked 
it all over, and I had no peace till it was 
settled. Certainly, Clara might have done 
better ; but her heart was set on it, and there 



STILL WATERS. 79 

was no more to be said. It seems that slie 
and Evelyn have loved each other from child- 
hood/ 

Again Sir John paused^ and what was Isabel 

to say ? Da\id did not help her^ and she 

forced her parched lips to utter the words from 

which her sonl revolted as false and hollow. 

^ Then it is no secret_, and I may wish Clara 

joy.' 

' Yes ; there is no use making a mystery, 
even though the marriage may not take place 
at once. Evelyn thinks of going back to his 
duty for a few months ; but of course he must 
seU out before they marry, for it would never 
do for my little Clara to follow the camp. So 
there will be a step for you, Lennox.^ The 
last words were spoken with benign com- 
placency, as if such substantial consolation 
must outweigh the disappointment of any 
visionary hopes. David did not undeceive him, 
and he presently resumed : 

^ [Many of our fiiends will think that Clara 
might have made a more brilliant marriage, 
and so indeed she might, if she had so chosen. 
But I must confess that my feudal affection 
for this old place inclines me to overlook other 
objections for the sake of seeing it and the 



8o STILL WATERS. 

name go together. And I know no one so 
universally popular as Evelyn/ 

While Sir John spoke, David employed 
himself in checking and spurring his horse, 
until the thorough-bred animal was chafed into 
an almost ungovernable temper, and fearless as 
Isabel was in general, she could not restrain 
an exclamation of dismay — 

' Oh, David, please take care V 

' What matter V he answered, fiercely ; and 
Sir John misconstrued his impatience, or 
thought it best to do so. 

' You and Prince are equally eager for a 
gallop,^ he said, ^ and you need not scruple to 
be off, for I turn up to the farm here. In my 
younger days I have had many a scamper up 
that green slope/ 

^ Come, then, Isabel,^ said David ; and he 
started at such a reckless pace, that Isabel was 
soon breathless and exhausted, and she checked 
her horse, declaring that she could go no far- 
ther. David turned upon her a face as colour- 
less as when he began this wild career, and 
said, ^ You did your congratulations well.^ 

' I was forced to say something,^ said Isabel, 
' and I was partly prepared.^ 

' And you did not tell me.^ 



STILL WATERS. 8 1 

' I knew nothing of Clara^ and it was only 
yesterday that Captain Gascoigne informed me 
of his intentions/ 

' They loved each other from childhood V 
said David, the words escaping from between 
his set teeth ; ^ truly, such constancy is admir- 
able ! She loved him — the very word is pro- 
faned when it is taken within her lips. And 
for Gascoigne — such genuine feeling as he may 
have once possessed, was long since frittered 
away in a succession of idle flirtations.^ 

Isabel shivered, so that the slight riding- 
whip almost escaped from her grasp ; but she 
recovered it, and her emotion was unheeded by 
her brother — he could think only of his own 
wrongs. 

' It was first and only love,' he continued. 
' I trusted so entirely, believing her to be 
bright and pure, faultless, and my own. One 
little hour ago I was happy in the assurance 
of her affection, and now all is blighted. I 
shall never trust woman more !' 

' I know what it must be,^ said Isabel. 

' You know what it is. Now I know the 
cause of your depression, and I do not wonder, 
for I too was deceived, and fancied that Gas- 
coigne's heart was touched at last, and that he 

VOL. II. G 



8a STILL WATEKS. 

was in earnest in his pursuit. Yet, Isabel_, we 
do not suffer equally, for Gascoigne is not, 
cannot be to you what she has been to me — 
justifying any infatuation by her bright grace 
and winning ways/ 

Isabel was silent ; she felt both each had 
invested their idol with hues of their own 
fancy ; the illusion was past, and the awaken- 
ing sufficiently bitter. David only spoke 
again to assert the impossibility of remaining 
under the same roof, or even in the same 
neighbourhood with Clara. He said that he 
should join the depot immediately, and Isabel 
did not attempt to dissuade him from this 
intention. 

The servant informed them, as they dis- 
mounted, that Miss Gascoigne was at luncheon, 
and David threw the reins to the man, and 
ran up-stairs to his own room without bestow- 
ing a look or word on Isabel. So she repaired 
alone to the dining-room, feeling that, though 
a man may forego his luncheon when he is 
crossed in love, it would be considered too 
strong a measure for a woman to take. Evelyn 
was there, sitting beside his cousin, and not, 
as usual, at the opposite end of the table. 
His manner was easy and pleasant as ever, 



STILL WATERS. 83 

and not unduly excited bv bis brilliant pro- 
spects ; but Clara looked restlessly^ feverisbly 
happy, her eyes glowing like stars_, her cheeks 
tinged with colour of almost too deep a shade 
for beauty. She looked up with nervous 
quickness; but she was reassured by IsabeFs 
composure_, and even doubtful whether Sir 
John had fulfilled his promise of imparting 
the fact of her engagement. 

' T hardly expected you so soon/ she said, 
after waiting a moment for Isabel to speak 
first. 

'TVe rode fast, and kept within the park 
gates/ replied Isabel. 

' Has Lennox come home V Evelyn asked ; 
and Isabel said ' Yes/ adding that he did not 
want any luncheon. 

' He is a wise man/ said Evelyn, pushing 
back his chair ; ' a cigar would be more to the 
purpose. So you will find me in the colon- 
nade, Clara, when you are inclined for a walk.' 
He left the room, and the tightening sense of 
sufibcation at IsabeFs heart was relieved by his 
absence; she looked up, and could breathe 
freely. 

'Perhaps you have not seen papa,^ said 
Clara, after an embarrassed silence. 

G 2, 



84 STILL WATERS. 

' Yes ; Sir Joliii has told us ; but I did not 
know whether the matter was so far declared 
that I ought to say anything about it. Be- 
sides, Clara/ continued Isabel, her constrained 
tone insensibly melting into one of impassioned 
earnestness, ' you must feel how difficult — how 
impossible it is for me to do so. I do not 
speak of myself; all that is past, as though it 
had never been. But if you think of David, 
you will not ask me to wish you joy.^ 

^Does Mr. Lennox care so much?' said 
Clara, with an air of unconsciousness which 
was not wholly affected; for, in truth, such 
compunction as she had been at leisure to feel 
was bestowed on Isabel. Too indignant to 
reply, Isabel gathered up the sweeping folds of 
her riding-skirt, and said that she should go to 
Buth. 

' Stop one moment,' Clara said, imploringly; 
' promise that you will not make Buth quite 
hate me. I care very little what other people 
say, but I don't want her to give me up.' 

' You may tell your own story,' said Isabel. 

' No, that will not do, either. I have ho- 
vered in and out, and asked after her head, 
without ever finding courage to begin ; so you 



STILL WATERS. 85 

may go first_, and I will follow^ to clear up dis- 
crepancies/ 

Isabel turned awav^ and chid the faint heart 
which inclined her to linger in the corridor or 
retreat to her own room. All must be told to 
E/Uth before the wave closed over it for ever, 
and she would tell her now, if she was fit to 
bear it ; so she opened the door of her sister's 
room and went in. Ruth was dressed, and 
lying on the couch ; and she said, in answer to 
her sister's inquiries, that her headache was 
nearly gone. Isabel sat down and took off her 
hat, so that her curls might fall down and 
shade her face in tangled luxuriance ; but even 
her attitude expressed dejection, and Ruth said, 
gently— 

^ You are not happy here, Isabel ?' 

'Are you?' she replied; and Ruth said, 
with a grave smile — 

' Happiness is comparative, and I should at 
least be happier if you would tell me what you 
wish. After all, I believe there is much to be 
said for this cottage of Sir John's.' 

' Oh no, no,' said Isabel, vehemently ; ' let 
us go home.' 

' Back to Holmdale V 



86 STILL WATERS. 

^ Anywhere but here. There is no use keep- 
ing back the truth, and you foresaw some such 
end long ago. Ruth, he never loved me ; and 
whether true to Clara or no, he is equally false 
to me.^ 

' To Clara V 

^ He is engaged to Clara.^ 

' Poor child V said Kuth, laying her hand on 
Isabel's throbbing temples ; but she withdrew 
from the light caressing touch as if it seared 
her brow. 

' You need not pity me ; I can bear it ; and 
just now I think most of David. A month 
ago it might have been different : it would have 
broken my heart or driven me wild to learn 
what I now know. But since we have seen 
death, and felt its power and its peace, it seems 
strange and pitiful that these earthly cares 
should touch us so nearly as they do.' 

^ It is not for long,' said Ruth, softly ; *^ and 
each fresh trial teaches us to look and long for 
the haven where we would be.' 

' Yet some people are happy.' 

' And you have great capacity for happiness, 
and are not yet so old that you need despair. 
Bright days may come, though not of our 
seeking.' 



STILL WATERS. 87 

' I don't care to seek them/ said Isabel ; '' I 
would rather not look for\yard^ if only I can 
escape from the past. But let us go home, for 
I cannot quite bear to see him and Clara toge- 
ther, and David is still more impatient. You 
cannot guess, Ruth, how bitterly disappointed 
he is, for you did not see what encouragement 
Clara gave him to the very last. And now she 
asks whether he cares V 

' Oh, Isabel !' said Clara, coming in as she 
spoke, ' I told you not to misrepresent me.^ 

^ I repeated your very words,^ said Isabel, 
subsiding at once into the tone of disdainful 
calmness which pained Ruth more than her 
unrestrained expression of feeling. And it was, 
in truth, so difficult to sustain, that she was 
glad to comply with her sister's advice to go 
and take ofi' her habit. 

^ Which shows great magnanimity,^ Clara 
observed, ' since the field is thereby left open 
to me. But I will be patient if you like to 
take me to task.' 

^ It is not worth while,' said Ruth. 

^Do not say that. It is ungrateful not to 
care what becomes of me, when I have just had 
my first quarrel with Evelyn because he spoke 
slightingly of you.' 



88 STILL WATEKS. 

At that moment Euth felt that it was as 
hisrh an honour as she could receive to be 
slighted by Evelyn Gascoigne ; and Clara read 
her thoughts^ and said with pique — 

^ After all, if you think so ill of Evelyn and 
myself, you ought to rejoice that you have es- 
caped the double connection/ 

'And so lightly, Clara, you can speak of 
your own heartless coquetry?' 

' I am sorry — as sorry as I can be about 
anything just now — that Mr. Lennox is so 
much disappointed, and I should not have 
gone on in that way if T had dared to hope 
that Evelyn really cared for me. As it was, I 
determined to prove to him and myself that I 
cared as little ; and when you call me heart- 
less, you cannot guess how my heart used to 
pant and throb when Evelyn passed me by with 
his cool, disdainful air, showing that he saw 
through my efforts to be unconcerned^ and 
only despised and ridiculed them/ 

'And, thinking of him as you did, you en- 
couraged the passion of another !' 

' I lilved Mr. Lennox very well ; I wished to 
like him better ; and, at all events, I wished 
to have done with Evelyn. And so, as I told 
him this morning, he spoke only just in time; 



STILL WATERS. 89 

for ^vlien I fouucl that he had been setting papa 
against such an imprudent marriage, I was 
quite resolved to prove how little I regarded 
his opinion. You need not look so indignant, 
Ruth ; for, after all, I only followed his lead, 
and YOU donH seem to resent Isabels wrongs 
half so much/ 

' Because I loved you, Clara.^ 

Clara^s eyes glittered with smiles and tears : 
'And you will go on lo\dng me, in spite of 
yourself, and of all I have done to vex you. 
You will not give me up now.' 

' Your own instinct,^ said Ruth, gravely, 
' must teach you the impossibility of meeting 
as before. Isabel shall not be exposed to the 
pain and humiliation of seeing Captain Gas- 
coigne in his new relations.' 

'And so you mean to drop the acquaintance 
altogether V 

'We must be beholden to you for house- 
room to-night, and then we shall go home.' 

' But you cannot prevent my coming to see 
you.' 

' No,' said Ruth, ' I cannot prevent you 
from following your self-willed ends, at the 
cost of any suffering to others.' 

Clara was deeplv wounded. 



90 STILL WATERS. 

^ This from you, Euth/ she saicl_, ^ who pro- 
fess to be better and more charitable than the 
rest of the workl P 

' I never made such a profession, Clara ; but 
you must suffer me to speak some of the irri- 
tation I feel, when I see the suffering brought 
upon David and Isabel — all I have left on 
earth to love/ 

'\\^e "svill not talk any more about it,^ said 
Clara, pouting ; ' I shall go and walk with 
Evelyn, since you say such disagreeable things/ 
However, she still lingered, and presently threw 
her arms round Ptuth. ' Dear Ruth ! If / 
say that I am sorry, will not you say that you 
are glad ? No one cares for me as you have 
done ; and I did hope for one little word to 
show that you enter into my happiness/ 

Kuth was touched, and kissed the soft cheek, 
so lovingly pressed against her own, though 
she spoke gravely as before. 

' You ask too much, Clara, knowing at 
whose cost your happiness is attained.^ 

' T loved him so much,' said Clara ; ' I don't 
believe that he cares for me in the same 
way, and yet I could not give him up to 
Isabel/ 

There was a shade of bitterness in her light 



STILL WATERS. 9 1 

tone ; but since Euth did not contradict her, 
slie was eager to retract lier words — 

' Thongli, after all, Ruth, you do not know 
him in the least, and cannot guess how much 
feeling may lie beneath his insouciant manner. 
You are often cold and reserved enough yourself/ 

' It would take too long to prove the points 
I may have in common with Captain Gas- 
coigne,^ said Ruth, smiling faintly ; ^ for I 
really cannot talk any more. My headache is 
coming on, and I have still another confidence 
to receive.^ 

' Mr. Lennox T said Clara, looking con- 
scious and amused, as if her penitence was not 
very deep. ' You must tell him how sorry 
I am, if that will do him any good.^ 

She flitted away, and was quite charmed to 
find Evelyn impatient of her long delay, and 
accusing her of losing the best part of the 
afternoon. 

Yery reluctantly David complied with the 
request sent through Isabel, that he would 
come and see Ruth ; and there was a change 
of countenance at any allusion to the name of 
Gascoigne, which deterred her from approach- 
ing the subject. But, after sitting for awhile 
in moody silence, he said abruptly — 



gz STILL WATERS. 

^ I suppose Isabel told you that I mean to 
go off to York to-morrow.' 

' Yes ; and that was why I particularly 
wished to see you/ 

' You need not try to persuade me to stay, 
or to sacrifice anything to appearances. She 
has shown herself reckless of what may be said 
or thought of her levity of conduct,, and for 
me a little more contempt matters not. I 
only know that I am pining to escape from 
this place.' 

^ And all I wish is, that you should take 
Isabel with you. Your leave does not expire 
until the first of November, and the intervening 
fortnight might be spent at the Lakes, as you 
once proposed. I am so anxious to spare her 
the pain of hearing the story canvassed in 
Holmdale, as it will be, when it first tran- 
spires.' 

David was averse to the plan, for he was in 
no humour for pleasure seeking, and found a 
rather perverse satisfaction in the prospect of 
returning to uncongenial companions and the 
discomforts of a barrack life. But his mood 
changed when Isabel entered, looking tired and 
spiritless, and evincing no interest in the dis- 
cussion. She said that she would rather be 



STILL WATERS. 93 

quiet, aud that it -would not be worse at Holm- 
dale than elsewhere. 

' It will be a great deal worse/ said David. 
' I "will not be such a selfish wretch as to leave 
you a prey to the impertinent curiosity of all 
your dear friends. TTe will start on our travels 
together, and we shall at least be good com- 
pany for each other.^ 

Isabel smiled tearfully, and sufiered her 
objections to leaving Ruth alone in the Red 
House to be overruled. David resolved to 
return to Holmdale that night to collect his 
things, and he went to inform Sir John of 
his intentions, and was two miles on his road 
before Captain Gascoigne and Clara returned 
from their pleasant saunter among the green 
alleys of the garden. Evelyn was sufficiently 
aware of his practice of throwing his posses- 
sions headlong into a portmanteau, to smile a 
little at such elaborate forethought ; but he 
made no remark, and possibly he was as much 
relieved as Clara to avoid a meeting. 

Ruth tried to persuade heifeelf and Isabel 
that she was able to go down to dinner ; but 
before the time came her headache had re- 
turned with such force that she could not leave 
the sofa. So Isabel went down alone, and 



94 STILL WATERS. 

talked at least as mucli as her companions. 
This projected tour was a great resource; and 
Evelyn^ Avho was well acquainted with the Lake 
country^, wrote down the names of the inns and 
other useful facts. But when Clara went into 
Isabels deserted room on the following morn- 
ings she found that the paper on which the 
information was written, had been torn up, 
and twisted into allumettes. 

David had come to fetch her before the 
family was astir_, and later in the day Ruth 
retm'ned to her desolate home; 



STILL WATERS. 95 



CHAPTER VII. 

Signora Eleanora did not make one of tliat numerous 
sisterhood who use their own sorrows as a cluL, with 
which to knock down other people's spirits. 

Doctor Antonio. 

"pUTH looked anxiously for her sister's re- 
-'-*' turn^ and there Tvas no effort in the 
cheerfulness with which she greeted her arrival. 
Isabel was tearful ; but so she must have been 
if she had never known Evelyn Gascoigne^ for 
she thought of the last coming home, as well 
as of former short absences, when her mother's 
pale face had lighted up with pleasure to meet 
her entrance. Xow there was but one to wel- 
come her, and the sense of bereavement came 
upon her with the force of a fresh grief. After 
tea, however, when they sat down for an un- 
disturbed talk, she told her adventures plea- 
santly, if not with much spirit, and then she 
demanded Ruth's news. 

'I believe I wrote everything as it hap- 
pened,' said Ruth ; ' I must say that my letters 
were longer than yours.' 



g6 STILL WATERS. 

' I know mine were meagre/ replied Isabel, 
'but my ideas could not flow upon paper; 
and I was generally too tired when we got to 
our inn to have many left. It is strange how 
things turn out ; I used to look forward to 
such an expedition with David as only too 
delightful to come to pass, and now we went 
through it as a necessary task/ 

'Yet not without enjoyment/ said Ruth; 
' and at any rate it will be pleasant to re- 
member/ 

' Perhaps. At least, I shall like some of the 
best things we saw all the better for their sad 
associations. Our brightest morning was at 
Coniston, so still and clear that the reflections 
on the lake were unbroken, and the colouring 
of the trees was gorgeous. As we lay on the 
hill- side, David went over the story of his 
wrongs ; how much he had loved her, and how 
his whole life was blighted. And while we 
were talking, the wind changed, and a mist 
came up and blotted all the view, so that I 
could not help thinking of those lines : 

But rosy clouds that morning brings 
Ere noon may deepen into thunder. 

And life's dark stream has sterner things 
Than silver lilies growing under.' 



STILL WATERS. 97 

E/Uth made no reply^ and after a few mo- 
ments^ silence Isabel spoke again. 

' You did not tell me everything, Kutli. For 
I suppose you have seen Clara ?^ 

' Yes^ once or twice/ 

' And is she happy ?^ 

' In a certain sense. I did not think it pos- 
sible for her to be so much in earnest.^ 

' You mean/ said Isabel,, ' that she loves him 
too well for her own happiness.^ 

Kuth looked grieved, and unwilling to reply. 
^ I thought, dear/ she said, ^ that we had 
agreed not to speak of the past.' 

' Only this once/ said Isabel, clasping her 
hands tightly together. 'I know that I am 
very weak, but all this while I have thirsted so 
much to know. Are they still here T 

'Captain Gascoigne goes off to Gibraltar 
this week.' 

^1 am so thankful that David is at the 
depot, and that they will not meet at present, 
for he is very bitter against him, much more 
than against Clara. The letter you forwarded 
to Keswick was from another of the officers. 
Captain Newry, who had heard of this engage- 
ment, but not of course that David had any 
interest in it. He asked whether we knew the 

VOL. II. H 



98 STILL WATERS. 

lady^ and said that at any rate it was a good 
speculation / and IsabeFs proud lip curved, 
'for sometliing had transpired lately to show 
that Captain Gascoigne was very much embar- 
rassed ; and I do believe^ R-uth, that that was 
his real motive, and that he really does not 
care for her.^ 

' That does not make his conduct more ex- 
cusable/ said Kuth. 

And Isabel answered shortly, ' I do not wish 
to excuse him/ 

Ruth sighed, and attempted to lead the con- 
versation into a fresh channel. 

' You have never commented on our move 
to Bean-street, Isabel. Since you and David 
refused to have a voice in the matter, I was 
forced to let the Doctor decide, and he was in 
favour of our taking the old house, since it has 
stood empty so long that we could have it on 
our own terms. There is to be a break at the 
end of the first six months, so that we can flit 
again if we like; and when the rooms are re- 
papered, and filled wdth our own things, they 
will not look so gaunt and dreary as they did 
in Mrs. Clinton^s day. You perceive I have 
begun to pack up such of our possessions as we 
mean to take, for we ought to move next week.^ 



STILL WATERS. 99 

^To be succeeded by the Dunns_, which is 
rather grievous. Only think how those children 
will run riot over my flower-beds^ and harry 
the birds^ nests^ which I have protected from 
old Joe ever since we took to gardening to- 
gether/ 

^ For your sake old Joe will protect them 
now/ said Ruth. ' Mr. Dunn has promised to 
take him on. He has been very good-natured 
in all arrangements of taking over the house^ 
and offered to let us stay till Christmas^ if it 
would be more convenient. But I thought 
that we might as well move at once.'' 

' I suppose so/ said Isabel_, listlessly. 

^ I was afraid you would not like the Bean- 
street house, but it was necessary to decide on 
something. Have you anything better to sug- 
gest V 

' Not in Holmdale, for all houses are much 
alike except our own. But I cannot quite see 
Avhy we should settle here when we have all 
the world before us. I cannot tell you how 
my heart sank when we came to the lamp at 
the turnpike, and then rattled over the stones. 
And we have no tie here.^ 

'■ There is the churchyard/ said Ruth, softly : 
but she repented her words when she perceived 

H % 



XOO STILL WATERS. 

their effect on Isabel. She hid her face, and 
said, with a convulsive sob — 

' Oh, Ruth ! you may well think me selfish 
and unfeeling to have forgotten that/ 

'You had not forgotten it, dear; and it is 
because you feel so strongly, that this place 
seems so intolerable. I don^t mean that the 
thought should influence us, if there were any 
reason for leaving Holmdale ; but since our lot 
is cast here, it seems like impatience to seek to 
change it merely because things do not go 
smoothly just now. If at the end of the six 
months ' 

' Please don't say any more about it,' said 
Isabel ; ^ I was only fretful and impatient. 
And I have still some dropped stitches to pick 
up, for you never told how the Dyne Court 
news was taken here.' 

'It made an impression, of course,' said 
Ruth, not knowing whether to admire or de- 
plore the hardihood with which Isabel chose to 
face the dreaded subject; 'but the interest has 
subsided already. Miss Perrott, who may be 
considered an index of Holmdale opinions, could 
talk of nothing yesterday but the new master, 
Mr. Mayne. She says that the Doctor has set- 



STILL WATERS. lOI 

tied him here, nominally as extra master, but 
really that he may do some of the parish work 
which the Vicar leaves undone. Mr. Mayne 
has begun energetically to map out the town 
into districts, and the ladies are in many minds 
about undertaking them ; so I shall put in my 
claim at once for a good slice of the Netherton, 
where the people look so squalid and neglected. 
And then, dear, we shall have new ties to 
Holmdale.' 

Isabel tried to take equal interest in the 
scheme, but her attention soon flagged; only 
when Ruth again quoted Miss Perrott she 
roused herself to say — 

' Do you get all your information at second- 
hand, Kuth ? I should have expected the 
Doctor to confide his plans to you.^ 

' I have not seen much of the Doctor lately,^ 
said Ruth, vexed with herself for colouring, 
though it did not attract her sister's attention, 
' and we have always had some business to talk 
over.' 

In truth, their intercourse had been scanty 
and unsatisfactory, and only marked by in- 
creasing constraint, since Dr. Berkeley's dread 
of transgressing the prescribed conditions de- 



lOZ STILL WATERS. 

prived him of all ease^ although he uncon- 
sciously gathered hope^ which he feared to dis- 
sipate by any premature declaration. 

For a whole week after IsabeFs return, the 
Gascoigne livery was not seen in Holmdale, — 
an event of such rare occurrence as to justify 
the gossips of the place in shaking their heads 
over the unfortunate faculty evinced by the 
Lennoxes for destroying their own prospects. 
'^ There is poor Ruth/ Miss Perrott said, con- 
fidentially ; ' she never held up her head after 
that misguided young Clinton absconded with 
five or six hundred pounds^ — the sum increased 
every year at a usurious rate of interest — ^he 
was unworthy of her in every way, and now 
Isabel has been equally foolish in aspiring to 
marry as much above her real station. It was 
quite extraordinary that Ruth should suffer her 
to go on as she did ; and not for want of warn- 
ing, either, for I happen to know that some 
people spoke to her seriously on the subject.^ 
And Miss Perrott puckered up her withered 
little face, complacent in the consciousness of 
her superior sense and foresight. 

Ruth and Isabel were duly grateful for the 
respite they enjoyed, although Ruth had al- 
ready guarded against any intrusion from Dyne 



STILL WATERS. I03 

Courts by directions that Sally slionld admit 
no one. In fact_, tlieir rooms were no longer 
in a condition to receive visitors, and their time 
was fully occupied in transferring books and 
fm^niture to Bean-street, and disposing them in 
order in their new abode. 

E/Uth aimed at making the parlour a minia- 
ture edition of the cheerful and spacious sitting- 
room at the Red House, and she was congratu- 
lated on her success. Even Isabel, who watched 
her proceedings with languid surprise, smiling 
at her anxiety to place the sofa and table in 
the same relative position to each other, ad- 
mitted that when the fire was lit, and the cur- 
tains drawn, it would be almost possible to 
believe themselves at home. But from Ruth 
herself, no change in the outward aspect of the 
room could shut out the recollection of its 
former inmates. She still pictured to herself 
the tall, angular form and rigid features of 
Mrs. Clinton, as she sat at work, and Jasper's 
boyish figure, bending over his books, or, as 
she had last seen him, crushed with grief and 
shame, after receiving the intelligence of his 
mother's death. She did not shrink from such 
associations, in which there was a pain so akin 
to pleasure that she would have felt to blame 



I04 STILL WATimS. 

iu moving to the house, if she had not referred 
the decision entirely to Dr. Berkeley. 

Ruth had discontinued all invalid habits on 
her return to Holmdale, and a motlicr^s eye 
-was wanting to discover how unequal her 
strength and spirits were to the strain she put 
upon them. Isabel, ^^ho was now her first 
thought, was too much absorbed by her own 
thoughts to discover how intent her sister was 
to spare her' from whatever was irksome or 
painful, although she was sometimes seized 
with a fit of vehement remorse on perceiving 
at the end of the day that Ruth was completely 
spent by fatigue and headache, and she would 
atone for her negligence by a good deal of su- 
perfluous activity. 



STILL WATERS. 1 05 



CHAPTER YIII. 

Still onward winds the weaiy way : 
I with it : for I long to prove 
Xo lapse of moons can canker love, 

Whatever fickle tongues may say. 

In ATemoriam. 

T70E, the third time in one day Ruth was 
-*- traversing, with slow and languid steps, the 
way leading from the Red House to Bean- 
street, when the sound of wheels, seldom heard 
in that narrow back street, made her look up ; 
and she was scarcely surprised to recognise 
the light carriage and ponies decked with gay 
trappings, which were always driven by Clara 
or a favoured companion, and in this instance 
it was a relief to discover that the reins were 
held by herself. 

'Yes, I am alone,' said Clara, reading her 
thoughts with characteristic quickness. ^ Eve- 
lyn has gone to Scarborough, and we follow in 
two days for a family gathering — rather ap- 
palling, is it not? But one comfort is that 
they know already nearly all the evil there is 



I05 STILL WATERS. 

to learn of me — or, perhaps^ rather more. So 
I intended to solace myself by a talk with 
you, at any rate, and now it is absolutely neces- 
sary. I stopped at the Red House, and then 
started in pursuit. Now please get in.-' 

^ It is not worth while for the few steps I 
have to go/ said Euth. 

^ To Bean-street ? I fall into a little frenzy 
of wrath and impatience when I think that 
you are to be immured in that dungeon, when 
you might have revelled in the rural beauties 
of our charming cottage. Are you not afraid 
of being haunted V 

'^Not at alV said Ruth, gravely. ^Please 
don^t keep me, Clara, for I have so much to 
do. We are to move to-morrow.^ 

' Still you must spare me one little half 
hour — ^just to drive along the road and back,' 
said Clara. ' You will think it worth while, 
when you hear the great news I have to tell.' 

Deeper shades of care gathered on Ruth's 
anxious brow, as she asked, with sudden alarm — 

' Is it about Da\dd ? We have not had a 
line from him since he parted from Isabel.' 

^ Get into the carriage and you shall hear,' 
replied Clara ; and as Ruth complied with her 
desire, she flourished her whip with an air of 



STILL WATEES. 107 

triumph. ' No^ it is not about David. I will 
tell you more when we get off the stones.^ 

K/Uth sat silent; and as soon as they turned 
out of the town into a road sodden and wet 
with decaying leaves, Clara spoke with another 
glittering smile. 

' I should like to tease you a little. You 
look so sedate and unconscious. My news 
concerns one about whom you used to care 
more than about David.' 

Maidenly dignity forbade Ruth to utter the 
name which trembled on her lips, and her face 
was expressionless in its enforced repose. 

' You know who I mean, Ruth, though you 
are too discreet to speak ; and I know that you 
have never quite forgiven my behaviour to Mr. 
Clinton. But we shall not be rivals now.' 

' Clara, what do you mean ?' Ruth asked, in 
a hoarse whisper. 

' Only this. Mr. Dunn came post haste to 
Dyne Court this morning to tell that 200Z., 
some odd pounds and pence, making up the 
interest for the four years, has been paid into 
papa's account. ]Mr. Dunn was most charmed 
by the trait of paying interest — so charac- 
teristic of the young man's business-like habits 
and scrupulous honesty in making restitution. 



I08 STILL WATERS. 

Any one might have paid the principal^ he said. 
Now, is my news worth hearing T 

' But about Jasper himself V said Ruth, 
struggling with a choking sensation in her 
throat. 

' We know no more than you, possibly not 
so much ; at least, Mr. Dunn hinted that you 
might give some clue if you chose. He is 
determined to ferret out the mystery, which is 
now obscure enough. The money was paid by 
some London bank, an acknowledgment re- 
quested, and a memorandum added to the 
effect that all inquiries would be in vain. But, 
at least, you can tell in what quarter of the 
world he is to be found.' 

* I know nothing/ said Ruth. 

Clara looked disappointed for a moment, biit 
observed, on reflection — 

^It is just as well; for in that case every- 
thing is left to my imagination. I cannot 
quite determine whether he has been digging 
gold in California or Australia ; but it does not 
much signify. He will make his appearance 
some day with a long beard, a revolver, and a 
bowie-knife, and constitute you guardian of his 
gold sacks. Now, seriously, Ruth, don't you 
think he will come back ?' 



STILL WATERS. I09 

' No/ said Rutli, slowly. ' If the dread of 
dishonour has exiled him all these years, he 
will not now return. For the stain still rests 
on his name, and people will say that he 
admits his guilt in the act of making restitu- 
tion.' 

' Of com'se he took the money ; but that is 
such an old story now that it makes no im- 
pression, and there is something chivalrous and 
romantic in giving it back, especially since he 
probably wants it much more than papa. I 
believe that he has only Diade restitution, as 
you call it, because it might not otherwise be 
convenient to appear in Holmdale, even with 
the disguise of beard and bowie-knife. But I 
declare that you don^t look at all elated, 
though I thought that I had for once found 
out something to please you.' 

''I am glad,' said Ruth, trying to smile, 
^ and it was kind of you to come and tell me. 
But now, please, let us drive back to Bean- 
street ; or, if it is inconvenient^ I can get out 
and walk/ 

Clara turned her ponies' heads, and before 
they re-entered the town she drew aside the 
crape veil which intercepted her \dew of Ruth's 
featm-es, and she ascertained that, though paler 



no STILL WATERS. 

than usualj there was no other trace of 
agitation. 

' I thought/ she said, ^ that you might be 
thinking of Jasper Cliuton_, and that made you 
so silent; but now I know you look so cold 
and stern because you still bear malice^ and 
cannot endure to be with me^ even for five 
minutes.^ 

^No, indeed, it is not that/ said Ruth, 
earnestly. 

' Otherwise/ continued Clara, ' you would 
have consented to take the cottage, instead 
of settling in that doleful house. How do 
you think Isabel will get on without a 
garden V 

' I am afraid she will miss it ; but it cannot 
be helped.^ 

' It might have been helped. I intended 
papa to give you at least an acre of ground, 
besides grass for a cow.' 

^ I know that you wished to give us much 
more than I should have felt comfortable in 
accepting.' 

' That is just as I said. You dislike me 
too much to let me help you in any way, and 
you must confess that you took this house in 
a fit of perversity.' 



STILL WATERS. . Ill 

' / did not take it. The Doctor thought 
that we could not do better/ 

'The Doctor!^ repeated Clara. 'That re- 
minds me of an absurd report which Evelyn 
picked up somewhere, that the Doctor intends 
to supplant the gold-digger. It must only be 
a fancy of his own, for I am sure that you 
could never fall in love with a man whose coat 
is so badly made.^ 

' Ah, Clara V said Ruth, touching her crape 
trimmings with a trembling hand, ' if nothing 
else, surely these should teach you that such 
flippant words are out of season.^ 

' I am sorry,^ said Clara ; ' there must be 
some fatality to make me say whatever most 
vexes you. You will be glad to hear that we 
are going away for at least two months.' 

Ruth did not deny it; yet she returned 
Clara^s parting caress with warmth, feeling 
that her levity could not even now wholly 
estrange her from the place she had won in her 
affections. She turned into the house, almost 
glad to find no leisure to analyse the thoughts 
and feelings hurrying through her brain. The 
upholsterer^s man was awaiting her directions 
about the final arrangement of the furniture, 
the carrier demanded payment for the con- 



113 STILL WATEKS. 

veyance of tlieir goods, and Sarah claimed her 
attention for a list of grievances, beginning 
with the darkness of the kitchen, and ending 
with the black-beetles in the scullery. 

' We have never been accustomed to such 
things,^ she said^ severely ; ^ and, considering 
how high Mrs. Clinton^s Martha held her 
head, it is very discreditable to the family.' 
Ruth could only say^ in extenuation, that 
Martha did not build the kitchen^ and that 
the black-beetles might have founded their 
colony since she gave up the house^ two 
years ago. 

In compliance with Sally's urgent entreaties, 
who was still working among the house-linen 
by the light of one flaring candle, Ruth set 
out to return home soon after dark. Sadly 
tired, and harassed in mind and body, she 
passed through the quiet streets which led to 
the old house that was to be their home no 
more. It was another thought, however, 
which brought the tears to her eyes and the 
expression of wistful sadness to her mouth, and 
caused her to throw a startled glance on the 
few persons she met or passed, though the 
growing darkness made it almost impossible to 
distinguish their features. 



STILL WATEES. II3 

' He may be near/ she tliouglit^ ' and yet 
so far from me. That fancy is so wearing, 
though I ought to be satisfied, since I have all 
I craved for in the knowledge that he is living 
and free from debt. I must thank God, and 
be patient/ 

The outer air was soft and still, yet Isabel 
was cowering over the fire iii the dismantled 
room, and Ruth could see the tears glistening 
on her cheek. 

' I was just coming to look for you, Ruth,^ 
she said, remorsefully. ^ I should not have 
stayed here if I had known there was so much 
to do.' 

' I have not been at work all this time,' said 
Ruth ; ' I was delayed by Clara.' 

' I have had some society too,' said Isabel ; 
' Mr. Dunn came in soon after you left, and 
was rather disposed to follow you to Bean- 
street ; but I did not encourage the idea, for I 
imagine that it was only some question about 
the house, which he thought me too young 
and inexperienced to answer.' 

' Most likely it was to teU me what I have 
just heard from Clara,' said Ruth; and she pro- 
ceeded to tell of the recovery of the 200/. 
Isabel evinced more interest in the matter 

VOL. II. I 



114 STILL WATERS. 

tlian her sister had done. ' Now/ she said, 
exultingly, ' you may triumph over the sinister 
predictions of Holmdale, and Jasper will come 
to clear himself. And the Doctor will be 
pleased too — at least I hope so ; but he has been 
so odd lately that I cannot always follow him. 
He found me in the garden this afternoon, 
where I had gone to gather all the flowers 
which are left ; and I suppose I was looking 
rather disconsolate, for after one or two dis- 
jointed remarks, he entreated me to confide in 
him as a brother. If he had said grandfather, 
it would have been more to the purpose.* 

The last words were spoken with a touch of 
her old playfulness, and Ruth tried to answer 
with a smile ; but in the effort all self-control 
was swept away, and she hid her face and burst 
into tears. She was at no loss to understand 
the Doctor^s words, and her perception of his 
meaning was accompanied by an indignant re- 
vulsion of feeling, as the truth flashed upon 
her that he was cherishing hopes which no 
time could enable her to fulfil. 

' Mamma, mamma V she said, in broken 
accents, unheeding IsabeFs passionate entreaties 
to tell her what she had said to wound her. 
* Oh, mamma ! what would you have me do ?' 



STILL WATERS. II5 

Isabel was terrified by Ruth^s ungovernable 
emotion^ and the sight of her uneasiness helped 
her sister to check her hysterical sobs. 

' That will doj dear/ she said^ retaining 
Isabels hand^ when she was going to fetch a 
glass of water ; ' I shall not be so foolish again ; 
only I was tired, and easily overset/ 

' But by what V said Isabel^ anxiously. ' I 
do not know how I have vexed you.^ 

' I will tell you/ Ruth said_, after a moment^s 
hesitation, ' if you care to hear.^ 

^ If T care ! but you may well ask, Ruth, 
for I know that I have been very selfish and 
forgetful of you. That was the reason you 
called so piteously on mamma.^ 

'Not entirely,^ said Ruth, in a faltering 
voice ; ' I have tried to do what she wished, 
and yet it cannot be right to deceive Dr. 
Berkeley, or to suffer him to deceive himself.^ 

Isabel was more perplexed than before by this 
allusion to the Doctor; and her sister went on 
to explain the matter in a grave, composed 
way, as if she had no personal interest in it, for 
her habitual self-possession had been shaken 
only for a moment, and then resumed its sway. 
' You see, Isabel, or at least you might have 
seen, that Dr. Berkeley wished to make you 

1 '2, 



Il5 STILL WATERS. 

liis sister by making me liis \^ife. He told 
mamma^ who wished it also, and so I promised to 
wait, and he will not press me ; he has scarcely 
even alluded to it, and I am afraid his for- 
bearance will only make it more difficult and 
painful to undeceive him at last. Tor I know 
that I shall never love him/ 

Isabel^s natural truthfulness and courage 
were, in this instance, aided by bitter experi- 
ence, and she saw but one issue from this 
dilemma. ^Then you should tell him so at 
once,^ she said ; ' anything is better than feed- 
ing false hopes.' 

' And you see no difficulty in having to speak 
first T said Ruth, smiling faintly. 

' At least it is not a difficulty which need 
interfere with what is right. Perhaps the 
Doctor has a glimmering consciousness that he 
is in a false position as a lover, for it really is 
a mistake, considering how paternal his manner 
always was. At first there will be a little 
disappointment, but we shall soon return to 
our old relations, and you will be much more 
comfortable for having got over the explana- 
tion.' 

^ If it were over,' said Ruth. ' But I am 
afraid that he is more in earnest, and will feel 



STILL WATERS. I17 

the disappointment more bitterly than you 
think.' 

^ If you really pity him so much/ Isabel 
began^ rather mischievously ; but she was 
checked by the expression of pain on her 
sister's countenance. 

^ You must not talk of it, Isabel ; I am very 
miserable^ but quite resolved. My mind will 
never alter ; but there is my promise to mamma 
not to decide hastily.' 

' Mamma would wish you to do what is 
right/ said Isabel; and the simple, straight- 
forward answer dispelled her sister's doubts. 
She replied that she would take the first 
opportunity of putting an end to the present 
suspense. 

That opportunity was afforded to her before 
her resolution had time to falter. The sisters 
were sitting together after tea, when the 
Doctoi^s weU-known knock made Ruth start 
and shiver ; but she only said, ' You wiU not 
mind taking your work up-stairs / and Isabel 
gathered her occupations together, and was 
gone before Dr. Berkeley entered. Ruth 
scarcely looked up from her work, and he said, 
nervously — 

' I am afraid that you will think me an in- 



Il8 STILL WATERS. 

truder on this last evening, when you have so 
much to do and think of. But since Dunn 
missed you^ I could not resist coming to tell 
his news/ 

' I am glad that you have come/ said Ruth, 
quietly; but I have already heard of Jasper 
Clinton/ 

' It must have given you pleasure, although 
the restitution is almost as mysterious as the 
former part of the story. Dunn says that Sir 
John is very desirous to trace Clinton, for the 
sake of assuring him that everything will be 
passed over, if he should wish to return and 
make a fresh start in this country/ 

^ It shows great forbearance on Sir John's 
part to remit the sentence of transportation,' 
said Ruth, not without bitterness, since her 
trustful love rebelled against the supposition 
that such an act of forgiveness was required ; 
'^but I hardly think that Jasper is likely to 
avail himself of it/ 

' I should not advise him to do so. If he 
came back to England, even if he settled far 
from this neighbourhood, he could never be 
secure from having the story cast up against 
him. But still I wish that it were possible to 
trace him.' 



STILL WATERS. II9 

' So every one says/ answered Ruth^ impa- 
tiently, ' as if I could help them. Yet I know 
nothing, and only guess that he went to Ame- 
rica_, and that is a wide word.' 

' I will take care that Dunn does not annoy 
you with inquiries/ said Dr. Berkeley ; and 
Ruth was ashamed of her irritation, and con- 
scious how little she deserved his considerate 
watchfulness. 

^ I did not want to see you about Jasper/ 
she said, colouring deeply ; and the Doctor 
caught at her meaning without ventm-ing to 
acknowledge it. 

' Well ?' he said, breathlessly. 

' I only wished to say that it seems better 
to speak plainly, instead of going on as we are 
now. It is only painful and harassing, and it 
must come to the same end at last. I know 
that it is impossible ' 

^ Oh, Ruth V exclaimed Dr. Berkeley ; ^ you 
promised to give me time, and it is cruel to 
crush my first faint hopes before I have con- 
fessed them. Any suspense is better than such 
a certainty; and even if it ends at last in dis- 
appointment, I alone must bear the blame.^ 

' Yet, for my sake,' said Ruth, ^ you must 
let me recall my word. Think me weak, un- 



120 STILL WATERS. 

grateful ; vet if von knew how it would ligliten 
other trials to know that I am free ' 

Dr. Berkeley looked up with a quick, pene- 
trating glance — ' Ah, Kuth ! had there been no 
tidings of Jasper Clinton, you would never have 
exacted this concession ; you would have waited, 
as you promised/ 

Kuth covered her face with her hands to 
hide the indignant blushes. ' It is cruel,' she 
said, ''to urge that promise on me — wrung 
from me at a time when I could deny her no- 
thing. And if Jasper were dead — as he is dead 
to me — sooner or later my answer must have 
been the same, though it may be that what I 
heard to-day forced upon me the truth that I 
Avas only trifling with one who deserves such 
love as I shall never feel.' 

'At least for me. It is enough; and in 
time I may be able to thank you for having 
awakened me so soon from my presumptuous 
dream, though now it seems hard to part from 
all which made life sweet. God bless you, dear 
Ruth ] let me call you so but once before my 
lips are sealed to that name for evermore.' 

With gentle force he drew down one of the 
hands which covered her face, and retained it 
for a moment in his nervous grasp. Before 



STILL TVATEKS. 121 

Uutli gained courage to look up he was gone, 
leaving lier perplexed and miserable, and humi- 
liated in his eyes and her own by the admission 
which he had wrung from her of the nature of 
her feelings towards Jasper Clinton. ^And yet 
it is well/ she thought ; ^ for he must feel con- 
tempt as well as anger, and when he despises, 
he must soon cease to love or regret me/ 

Isabel only waited for the closing of the 
house-door to come down, her looks full of 
eager curiosity, which her sister had no heart 
to satisfy. ' You must not ask me, dear,^ she 
said ; ' I can only tell you that it is all over, 
and that I have estranged from us almost the 
only real friend we had. But we must try to 
leave all vexing thoughts behind in the old 
house, and apply ourselves ^with hearts new 
braced^ to make a fresh start in life.^ 



123 STILL WATERS. 



CHAPTER IX. 

My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, 
And every tongue brings in a several tale, 
And every tale condemns me for a villain. 

Eichard III. 

' T MUST say, Ruth/ said Miss Perrott, look- 
-^ ing round, ' that you have made the room 
look very nice, only the Indian cabinet takes 
up too much space/ 

' So it did even in the Red House,^ said 
Ruth; 'but it was an old friend, and we did 
not like to part with it/ 

It was not the first time the criticism had 
been made and answered, for it was now within 
a few days of Christmas, and the Lennoxes 
had been settled in their new abode for more 
than three weeks. 

' You are not so constant to all old friends,^ 
resumed Miss Perrott; ' at least if there is any 
truth in the report of some coolness between 
you and the Doctor. Indeed, there must be 
something in it, for I met him in the High- 
street just now, and mentioned that I was 



STILL WATERS. 1 23 

coming here, and he hoped that you were both 
pretty weU. In old times he would have come 
to inquire for himself; besides_, he is going away 
for the Christmas holidays, a thing which never 
happened before; he has always made such a 
point of eating his Christmas dinner with 
you/ 

' We are not much disposed for merry- 
making this year/ said Ruth. 

' I am sure that there is nothing merry about 
the Doctor/ retorted Miss Perrott ; ' people all 
remark that he is unusually absent and out of 
spirits, and he is just the sort of man to take a 
misunderstanding to heart. I suppose it is 
some foolish jealousy of his appointment to be 
IsabePs guardian ; she was always so self-willed 
and impatient of control/ 

' It is the last thing you can accuse her of 
now/ said Kuth, sadly ; ' I only wish that I 
could see a trace of her old spirits.^ 

' She is changed, indeed,^ replied Miss Per- 
rott, and her tone was somewhat softened; 
' but the self-will is the same as ever in giving 
way as she does. She ought to live with other 
people instead of roaming over the country by 
herself: and I donH believe she gives you any 
help in your parish work.^ 



124 STILL WATERS. 

^ I have no doubt she Ti-oald if I asked her/ 
said Ruth. 

' Then you ought to ask her. It would be 
much more wholesome for her than indulging 
her love of seclusion ; but you always did spoil 
her/ 

^ And now it is too late to mend/ 

' I tell you what would rouse her better than 
anything/ continued Miss Perrott^ whose in- 
terest in the two sisters was gen\iine^ if not 
always considerate ; ' and that is a visit from 
David. He ought to come and help you over 
Christmas_, which is always a sad time after a 
loosening of old ties^ as even I could tell you, 
though it is so long since I have known a 
family gathering.^ 

' Yes_, I wish David could have come/ said 
Kuth ; ' but I had a line from him to-day to 
say that there would be no use applying for 
leave, as so many of the officers are away.' 

' He has as good a right as another, and I 
dare say that he might have got leave if he had 
chosen to exert himself. But I suppose that 
he does not like to put himself in the way of 
Dyne Court again.' 

' Dyne Court is empty, you know,' said 
Ruth ; ' and the Gascoignes do not return be- 



STILL WATERS. 125 

fore Parliament meets^ but go from Scarbo- 
rough to Loudon/ 

•^ Oh ! so you still correspond with Miss 
Gascoigne V 

^ Yes ; I heard from her last week/ 

^And are she and Captain Gascoigne to- 
gether V 

^ No ; he is with the regiment at Gibraltar. 
He does not sell out until the marriage takes 
place in the spring.'' 

^ I shall be surprised if it ever takes place 
at all/ said Miss Perrott. ' At least, Mr. Dunn, 
who ought to know, seems to think that Cap- 
tain Gascoigne is quite as volatile in his tastes 
as the young lady, and that is saying a good 
deal. I am sure, my dear, that Isabel made a 
very lucky escape, if she would only think so.^ 

^ Indeed,^ said Ruth; ^you don't quite un- 
derstand what Isabel thinks.' 

^ It would be very odd if I did,' rejoined the 
old lady, tartly, ' since she never says anything. 
I must confess that I feel hurt by the way she 
shuns an old friend like me, crossing over the 
street to avoid speaking to me/ 

Ruth was aware that any attempt to justify 
Isabel only aggravated the sense of her mis- 
demeanours, and she thought it best to change 



126 STILL WATERS. 

the subject. ' Can I do anything for you in the 
Netherton^ Miss Perrott? I am going on my 
own account to give out the list for broth, and 
the day is too cold for you to go in and out of 
houses/ 

^ If Isabel were going with you, I might ask 
her to do one or two things for me ; but really 
I have not the conscience to put any more 
upon you, you look so overworked already/ 

' It is quite a mistake to think so. Miss 
Perrott ; I assure you I never feel tired except 
when I sit at home/ 

^ That is only restlessness,^ said ^liss Perrott, 
with an oracular shake of the head ; ^ and in 
addition to everything else, I am inclined to 
think that you worry yourself about Jasper 
Clinton. It is very singular that we can dis- 
cover nothing about him ; but Dr. Berkeley 
has heard from his friend at New York, who 
has promised to set inquiries on foot.' 

' Has Dr. Berkeley written ?' said Euth, 
quickly. 

' You did not know that ? then absolutely 
you and the Doctor are not on speaking terms.' 

' Yes we are,' said Buth, colouring ; ' but 
he has not happened to mention this/ 

* It is very odd ; for he is quite taken up 



STILL WATERS. 127 

about it, and so is Sir John, moved, as Mr. 
Dunn thinks, by Miss Gascoigne, who took up 
the matter very eagerly. Among them all they 
must discover some clue.^ 

' But about your broth-tickets,' said Ruth, 
making another attempt to recall her discursive 
companion. ' 1 think Mrs. Wood and John 
Ball are both in your district ; and Mr. Mayne 
said they were both to be put on the list.' 

^ Mr. Mayne is very much deceived in John 
Ball,' said ^liss Perrott; and, in vindicating 
her opinion, she forgot the more exciting topics 
of Jasper Clinton and the Doctor. 

Ruth had striven hard, and not unsuccess- 
fully, to create for herself new interests in work- 
ing among the neglected poor of the district 
allotted to her ; but it had been up-hill work. 
Mr. Mayne was young and energetic, and per- 
haps a little indiscreet, and he had collected 
his staff of ladies without sufficiently consider- 
ing whether they would work together; and 
several of those who had begun with most zeal 
already discovered that the system of visiting 
he enforced, together with the meetings at his 
house, consumed more time than they could 
spare from domestic duties. Every one thought 
that Miss Lennox, who had no home ties. 



128 STILL WATERS. 

might undertake one more street; and as she 
could not resist the appeal made by Mr. Mayne 
in his distress^ before Christmas came^ almost 
the whole of the Netherton, in which the poorer 
inhabitants congregated, had been thrown upon 
her hands. She had undertaken more than she 
could accomplish with any satisfaction to her- 
self; and, as Miss Perrott hinted, she received 
little assistance from her sister. 

Isabel began with great spirit, but she was 
soon discouraged by the nature of the work. 
The people were unused to be visited, and she 
was repelled, either by their surly independence, 
or by clamorous demands for soup and coal- 
tickets ; and she could not allow that the dis- 
covery of one or two more promising house- 
holds repaid them for a long disappointing 
round, especially since Euth was so easily satis- 
fied as to think well of a woman who wore a 
black cap and artificial flowers, and spoke with 
a pure Loudon accent. So she soon ceased to 
accompany Ruth with any alacrity, and the 
elder sister had no heart to interfere with her 
evident inclination for a solitary walk, and 
generally declared that she could accomplish 
the visits by herself. It was one of the occa- 
sions when E-uth missed Dr. Berkeley's counsel. 



STILL ^'ATERS. 1 29 

He miglit have decided whether it was inju- 
dicious to indulge Isabel's desire of solitude; 
and he^ too, she thought, might have discovered 
that her strength was severely tasked by the 
duties imposed upon her. 

' And yet I could not give them up/ she 
thought. ' It is better to be weary with too 
much work than too much thought, and I have 
even now more time than enough for selfish 
repinings. I wonder if the Doctor will be as 
successful in his researches this time as when 
he wrote to Sydney. I can hardly wish it, for 
I believe that it would be unmixed pain to 
Jasper to be brought amongst us again.'' 

Ruth was startled from these speculations by 
observing Dr. Berkeley himself on the other 
side of the street, and she instinctively quick- 
ened her pace, and drew down her veil. But 
the Doctor did not as usual second her endea- 
vom's to avoid a meeting, and he crossed the 
street after a moment's irresolution, his look 
and tone deprecating her displeasm'e when he 
addressed her. 

^ I could not,^ he said, ' help asking if I can 
do anything for you in the town. You seem 
tired and not fit to walk.' 

The expression of sympathy for which Ruth 

VOL. II. K 



130 STILL WATERS. 

had craved a moment before^ was now only 
embarrassing^ and she answered hurriedly — 

* Oh, no, I am not tired ; at least, the fresh 
air is pleasant. And I am only going into the 
Netherton.^ 

' Mayne says that you are his only efficient 
visitor. But I hope that he does not over- 
work you.^ 

' I like it/ said Ruth ; and then percei^ang 
that Dr. Berkeley was wounded by her brief 
reply, she made an effort to throw off con- 
straint. 'Where are you to pass Christmas, 
Dr. Berkeley? I hear that you are going 
away.^ 

'^I do not know or care,^ he replied. 'I 
only felt that it would not do to stay here.^ 

There was another pause, and Ruth con- 
sidered that Miss Perrott's plain speaking was 
less harassing than these half sentences. While 
calculating what streets she must traverse 
before she could reach the first house in her 
district, and so free herself from her com- 
panion. Dr. Berkeley spoke again. 

' You might trust me, Miss Lennox. On 
one point I shall never speak again, and there- 
fore it seems hard that I should be debarred 
from all subjects which interest you.^ 



STILL WATERS. 131 

'I know/ Ruth answered, in an unsteady 
voice, ' tliat you do not even now despise me, 
or give me up as I deserve ; and I would thank 
you, if I dared, for your exertions in Jasper^s 
behalf/ 

' You have heard that ?' said Dr. Berkeley ; 
^ and you can guess that it is on your account 
that I am chiefly anxious to ascertain his 
fate/ 

^ Thank you, very much. It would be a 
relief to know, though it does not really con- 
cern me. And, after all, certainty is some- 
times worse than suspense.^ 

' True/ said Dr. Berkeley, in a tone which 
betrayed that he had taken the words home. 
Ruth hurriedly resumed — 

^ I cannot suppose that there is any chance 
of discovering Jasper in such a place as America 
after the lapse of so many years.^ 

^ So I am afraid my New York friend will 
say. But, since I wrote to him, it occurred 
to me that it might be worth while to send 
him an advertisement to publish in all the 
leading papers. And I wished to consult you 
in what form the appeal should be cast, and if 
it would be too great a liberty to use your 
initials.' 



132 STILL WATERS. 

* Oh, that would never do/ said Ruth, 
drawing back. 

' And why not, Miss Lennox V 

' I mean that it would be of no use. He 
may have forgotten the initial letters of my 
name, since I have no claim to his recollec- 
tion.^ 

' No claim ! — when yon have cherished his 
memory through all these years, and done 
your utmost to shield his name from dishonour. 
And yet you are content to believe that he has 
forgotten your own.^ 

' It might be best for both,' said Ruth ; 
' but you do not and cannot understand what 
I mean, and I would rather wait and let things 
take their course.' 

'And you think me only officious to have 
stirred in the matter V 

' Xo, indeed,' said Ruth, tearfully ; ' but I 
wish that you would not trouble yourself about 
what I think. I do not deserve_, and I am not 
worth it.' 

' Well, good-bye,' said the Doctor, stopping 
abruptly at the corner of the street ; and Ruth 
walked on, with a heart no lighter for a con- 
versation which had not conduced to place 
their intercourse on a pleasanter footing than 



STILL WATERS. I33 

before. His exertions to trace Jasper awakened 
a sense of shame whicli made tlie burden of gra- 
titude doubly oppressive; she felt that anger 
and estrangement would have been more tole- 
rable than such manly and noble forbearance. 
But she cast the thought aside for the present, 
reserving it for future meditation^ and applied 
herself to the work before her with the regular 
and methodical exactness which had so often 
provoked Clara Gascoigne's raillery. 

By the time Ruth reached the last house on 
her hst it was growing dusk, and the firelight 
streamed with a ruddy glow through the lat- 
tice and half-open door. A little maid was 
rocking the baby^s cradle on the hearth with 
an elder sister^s proud tenderness, and she said 
that ' mother was out / but in mother's ab- 
sence she was disposed to make the visitor 
welcome, and soon became confidential, un- 
folding a good deal of family history. Fa- 
ther's work was slack, and 'taters were dear, so 
they had only bread and dripping for dinner ; 
and they all slept down-stairs, as the loft was 
let to help out the rent. 

* And have you a lodger now T Euth asked. 

' Yes,' said the child, lowering her voice ; 
' and the gentleman is at home.' 



134 STILL WATEES. 

Rutli smiled at the term which had so often 
offended Isabel, who vindicated for herself the 
privilege of being called a woman, simply as a 
mark of gentility. ^ Then he is out of work 
too/ she said. 

' He is ill, and so off work ; but mother 
don't think he ever was given to do much, for 
his hands are soft and white like the real 
gentlefolk; and though he has only a fustian 
jacket, his shirts are finer than father's best.' 

^And how does he pay his rent?' Ruth 
asked, insensibly becoming interested in a 
story to which she had at first listened out of 
complaisance for Bessy. 

' He promised to pay by the week, and he 
has been here ten days ; so father spoke to 
him about it, and he said he should look for 
work when he was better : and then he gave 
him a gold ring in pledge — real gold — and 
made father promise not to part with it. I can 
show it to you if you like.' 

' Your father might not like you to meddle 
with it,' said Ruth; but the little damsel as- 
sured her, with a staid and sensible air, that 
father would not mind ; he had only put it into 
the tobacco-box on the high chest of drawers, 
to be out of the children's way. And by climb- 



STILL AYATERS. 135 

ing on the polished arm -settle she succeeded in 
reaching the treasure in question, and produc- 
ing it for RutVs inspection. 

It was a plain seal ring ; and as Ruth leaned 
forward so as to throw the firelight upon the 
bloodstone, she perceived that the crest of a 
talbot^s head was engraved upon it. A strange, 
wild, and improbable idea darted through her 
brain : this was the Clinton crest, and she re- 
minded herself in vain that it was a common 
device. ^ What is his name V she asked, hur- 
riedly; but she wondered at her own folly in 
expecting any satisfaction from the reply. Yet 
a name so little distinctive as ^ John Brown' 
gave colom' to the supposition that it might be 
assumed. 

' Is he a tall man ?' 
' Yes j a bit taller than father.' 
' And what colour is his hair V 
' His hair is dark, like yours.' 
Again Ruth's heart leaped ; she remembered 
how, in days gone by, Isabel had laid a lock of 
her hair beside Jasper's, and bade her observe 
that there was not a shade of difference between 
them. Bessy Lawes wondered how long the 
lady meant to stay, and why she continued to 
sit beside the fire, mechanically mo\ing the 



1^6 STILL WATERS. 



ring up and clown on her slender fing-er; but 
the result of her meditations presently ap- 
peared. 

' Bessy/ she said^ looking up, ^ would you 
ask Mr. Brown if he would like to see me ? — 
since he is ill, and out of work, I might he of 
use to him.' 

' Mother told me to mind baby/ said the 
little girl, hanging her head. 

' I will mind him till you come down,' said 
Ruth. 

There was a pause before Bessy found cou- 
rage to reveal the true cause of her reluctance 
— ' Please, I think you had best go yourself. 
Mother says he does not like children, and if 
we go near the room he speaks so rough-like, 
and orders us down.' 

' I will go myself,' said Ruth ; and Bessy 
lighted a candle with great alacrity to guide 
her up the steep and narrow stair. 

No answer was returned to Ruth's low and 
uncertain knock ; but when she tried the door, 
which was fastened, there was a sullen inquiry 
who was there. 

'It is 1/ said Ruth, softly. When she 
would have told her name, the words died 
on her lips. Slie waited, and presently there 



STILL WATERS. I37 

T^■as a sound of lieavv steps crossiiiGr the 
creaking floor; the holt was withdrawn, the 
door thrown hack, and the owner of the rinj, 
whoever he might he, stood before her. 

Ruth was scarcely conscious of a sickening 
sense of disappointment — it was so soon swal- 
lowed up in alarm. The dim light of her 
flickering candle revealed a man of almost 
gigantic proportions, his naturally powerful 
frame evidently contracted by Avasting sickness ; 
liis features were strong, a fierce light gleamed 
in his hollow eye, and there was something 
animal in the expression of the mouth. Yet 
Ruth was haunted by a strange, indefinable 
resemblance to Jasper Clinton, which made her 
shiver. She was reassured in observing that 
not want and care alone, but time, had furrowed 
the deep lines round the mouth and eyes, and 
streaked the bushy hair with grey. She re- 
peated to herself that the likeness existed only 
in her imagination, and yet at that moment 
she would have thanked Grod for the certainty 
that Jasper Clinton was dead. 

' ^Tiat do yon want V the stranger asked ; 
and Ruth was scarcely prepared to reply to the 
question put in a tone of defiance. 

' I A*isit here/ she said, with hesitation ; ^ I 



• 3^ STILL WATERS. 

heard you were ill_, and I thouglit you might 
need help/ 

' Have I asked for help T returned the man ; 
adding with a smile, more repulsive than his 
rudeness, 'however, I am not one to refuse a 
good offer. I do want help — money — I am 
starving with cold and hunger/ 

Ruth glanced round the little garret, and 
its appearance hore out his words. There was 
no fire in the grate, and the keen wind sighed 
and moaned through the unceiled rafters of the 
roof, and flapped to ' and fro the tattered cur- 
tains of the bed, which was literally the only 
article of furniture in the room, with the ex- 
ception of a wooden chest and one rickety 
chair. The Christmas gifts of that day had 
almost exhausted the contents of RutVs purse, 
but she pressed the little that remained into 
the man^s hand, as she said, ' It is all I have 
with me; you had better make a fire, and 
come to our house this evening for some 
broth — three. Bean-street.^ 

The hand which had greedily closed upon 
the silver, relaxed its grasp, and Ruth was 
terrified by the tumult of passion which swept 
over that haggard face — whether of anger, 
shame, or remorse she could not tell. 



STILL WATERS. 139 

' Three, Bean-street V he repeated, thi'ougli 
his set teeth — ' to hell rather V He wrenched 
the door from her hand, and secured it on 
the inside against further intrusion. 

The interview had been long enough for 
Ruth. In observing the effect of her last 
words, the truth had flashed upon her : since 
it was not Jasper Clinton, it could only be his 
father, and in his presence she could not 
breathe freely; she must have leism'e to think, 
and to determine how to act. She passed 
hastily through the outer room, where Bessy 
awaited her return in some anxiety, and only 
bade her good-night, saying that she should 
come again on the morrow. 

Alone, and in the deepening twilight, she 
hoped to recover some composure ; but it was 
not to be. She could only restlessly count 
over the circumstances in favoiu' of her con- 
viction that this was the elder Clinton. Eveiy- 
thing confirmed the surmise; the coincidence 
of the crest, his anxiety to shun observation, 
the emotion to which her reference to the old 
house in Bean-street had given rise ; above all, 
and Ruth shivered at this added proof, the 
strange resemblance to Jasper, overlaid, yet 
not wholly defaced, by the traces stamped 



140 STILL WATERS. 

upon his featiuTs of a life of crime and reck- 
less dissipation. For Jasper^s sake he must 
not be left in the destitution to which he was 
reduced ; for his own sake^ also, as Ruth 
thought^ with pitying tenderness_, since tlio 
hollow cough still rang in her ears, which 
betrayed that the hand of death was upon him. 
Then came a sense of powerlessness, and the 
craving for counsel by which she was so often 
visited. She feared to take any step which 
might lead either to his detection or to his de- 
parture_, in order to avoid suspicion^ and she 
felt wholly unequal to the attempt of gaining 
influence over a man of hardened and desperate 
character. She began to be afraid, also, that 
she must soon give way to the feelings of ill- 
ness against which she had struggled so long. 
She felt that the shock of the discovery she 
had just made was hardly enough to account 
for the lassitude by which she was overpowered, 
and this languor was accompanied by that 
peculiar sensation which often precedes illness, 
when the nerves quiver and the pulses throb 
with suppressed and latent suffering. 

There was one alternative, which she em- 
braced with reluctance, and that was an appeal 
to Dr. Berkeley. As soon as she returned 



STILL WATERS. 141 

liome^ she dispatclied a note to him, before 
gmng her aching head the repose it so much 
needed. 

' Bean-street, Tuesday. 
* Deau Dr. Berkeley, — After parting from 
you, I went to the Lawes^s cottage in Love- 
lane, and I found a man lodging there, whom 
I beheve to be Jasper's father, Mr. Clinton. I 
did not tell him my suspicions, for he evidently 
wishes to remain concealed ; nor do I know 
what I ought to do. He is very ill, if not 
dying, and in great want. Perhaps you will 
not mind coming here to-morrow, to advise 
me what to do. And, even if you do mind, 1 
believe you will come, little as I deserve it. 
' Yours truly, 

^ Ruth Lennox.^ 

Dr. Berkeley replied by a verbal message, 
promising prompt compliance ; but when he 
asked for Miss Lennox on the following morn- 
ing, he was informed that she was too ill to see 
him. He was still in parley with Sally, when 
Mr. Ball came down the stair with an anxious 
face. 

^Yes,^ he said, ' it promises to be a serious 
illness, and I have no doubt that it has been 



142 STILL WATERS. 

brewing for some time. She has a good deal 
of fever^ and wandered through the night, and 
now she is talking incessantly, chiefly of her 
mother, poor thing, in a confused, incoherent 
way, which shows what a strain there has been 
upon the mind. But I still hope to avert 
brain-fever.^ 



STILL WATERS. I43 



CHAPTER X. 

A roofless ruin lies my home, 

For winds to blow, and rains to pour, 

One frosty night befel, and lo ! 
I find my summer days are o'er : 

The heart bereaved, of why and how- 
Unknowing, knows that yet before 

It had, what e'en to memory now 
Eetums no more — no more. 

A. H. Clough. 

* A BRAIX fever/ ' the illness has been 
-^ brewing for some time/ Isabel had been 
leaning over the balusters to catch Mr. Ball^s 
words^ and she carried them back with her to 
the sick room. The sentence almost paralysed 
her, and abeady she felt so helpless^ shrinking 
in childish terror from Ruth^s incoherent words^ 
and yet jealous of suffering any other to share 
the charge^ and aid in carrying out Mr. Ball^s 
directions. All was done — the long dark hair 
cut away from the temples to make way for 
cooling applications^ every ray of light excluded 
from the room^ and nothing remained but to 
sit and watch. 



144 STILL WATERS. 

E/Utli never ceased speaking in the low^ hur- 
ried tone which betrays the delirium of fever. 
Her mother's name recurred most frequently, 
whom she imagined to be lying in the adjoining 
room, requiring her attendance ; and she en- 
treated Isabel with piteous earnestness to allow 
her to rise. But as the attempt to move 
brought a rush of pain to her head, she sank 
back on the pillow, saying faintly, ' I cannot 
go — but shut both doors, lest mamma should 
be disturbed by the throbbing of my temples V 
and this delusion availed more to still her rest- 
lessness than all Isabel's soothing words. 

To some of her sister's confused sayings 
Isabel possessed no clue ; she could not under- 
stand the repeated allusions to the sick man in 
Love-lane, Huth's anxiety to know if the 
Doctor had seen him, and if he w^ould keep 
the secret ; and even in delirium she forbore, 
with strange self-control, to utter the name 
that trembled on her lips. Isabel could not 
trace the connexion between this incident and 
Jasper Clinton, and indeed she forgot to do so 
in the painful interest awakened by the revela- 
tion of the deep yearnings which lay beneath her 
sister's impassive manner. Conjectures locked 
up for years within her breast were now poured 



STILL WATERS. I45 

fortli by Ruth without restraint. She said 
that Jasper was dead — that his spirit was 
crushed by that sense of irremediable dishonour 
which makes hfe a living death — that he had 
returned to make his honour plain — that he 
still lovedj and would marry Clara. ^And 
thinking of him as I did/ she continued^ in 
the belief that she was addressing her mother^ 
' you must not think too hardly of my beha- 
viour to Dr. Berkeley. It was wrong to make 
the engagement, but it would have been worse 
to keep itj after the conviction had been brought 
home that I coukl never forget Jasper, or 
think of another in the same way. Oh, 
mamma ! when first you learned how I loved 
him, you only pitied me, and were not angry; 
will you not still bear Avith me V It seemed 
that she was ever haunted by the dread of 
having incurred her mother^s displeasure. 

Trials no less heavy than her own were 
revealed to Isabel; but borne, as she acknow- 
ledged, with a keen sense of remorse, in a 
different spirit. Ruth had appeared to be 
content and even cheerful, full of interest in 
the thoughts and pursuits of others ; and Isabel 
had never dreamed of the struggle by which 
such self-control was attained. And now, in 

VOL. II. L 



14^ STILL WATERS. 

bitterness of spirit, she understood Mr. Ball's 
allusion to that strain upon the mind, which, 
so far from relieving, she must have aggravated 
by her self-willed indulgence to listlessness and 
despondency. 

Isabel felt as if she had been sitting by that 
bedside for years, instead of hours, when, late 
in the afternoon, Sally reminded her that the 
post would go out in half an hour, and asked 
if she did not mean to write to Mr. David. 
She complied with the suggestion, glad that 
the time made it necessary that her letter 
should be brief. Since Mr. Ball had not cer- 
tainly pronounced it a case of brain fever, she 
would not put her forebodings into shape by 
using the alarming words. She wrote that 
Euth was ill and feverish, and that Mr. Ball 
seemed uneasy about her, and she entreated 
David to apply for leave, and come to them at 
once. 

'I want you so much,' she added, plain- 
tively. She counted the hours which must 
intervene before David could receive and act 
upon her letter. They went heavily by, and 
wrought little change in Ruth, except that the 
violence of the delirium subsided. Her mind 
still wandered when she spoke; but for the 



STILL WATERS. I47 

most part she lay in a sort of stupor, less 
harassing to her attendants; yet Mr. Ball evi- 
dently did not regard this as a more hopeful 
symptom. 

On the evening of the second day Isabel ac- 
companied the doctor half way down-staii^s, in 
order to hear his evasive answer to her breath- 
less inquii'ies. He could not say his patient 
was worse, nor yet much better, and he did not 
anticipate any change for some days. Isabel 
returned his good night as well as her parched 
lips would allow, and attempted to return to 
her sister's room ; but her trembling limbs 
refused to carry her farther, and she sank down 
on the stair, and sobbed convulsively. She 
was sick at heart, hopeless, and bodily weary; 
for she had not spared herself as an older and 
more experienced nurse would have done. She 
had taken no rest, and scarcely tasted food 
since Kuth was taken ill. She was roused by 
hearing Sally in colloquy with some person at 
the house door. Could it be David ? But in 
another moment she was only more dispirited 
to recognise Dr. Berkeley's voice. 

He was trying to gain admittance, while 
Sally complied with the instructions which had 
given offence to many of their acquaintance, in 

L 2 



148 STILL WATERS. 

repeating that Miss Isabel could see no one 
while her sister was so ill. It now occurred 
to Isabel_, that Ruth had not shrunk from in- 
tercourse with others when her attendance on 
their mother was most harassing, and she also 
remembered Dr. Berkeley's peculiar claim to 
consideration. Not without a struggle, she 
resisted the impulse to escape before her posi- 
tion was discovered, and she rose and pre- 
sented herself in the entrance passage. But 
she was not prepared to see Miss Perrott as 
well as the Doctor, and she was only restrained 
from a hasty retreat by Miss Perrott's voluble 
inquiries. She was rewarded for the effort ; 
for, after the first pang was over_, there was a 
certain relief in imparting to another the hopes 
and fears which had been locked within her 
breast. 

'You must have met Mr. Ball,^ she said, 
after repeating the opinion he had just given. 

' Yes, we met him,^ said Miss Perrott ; ' and 
he quite approved of my coming to help you 
through the nursing. He said that you will 
soon be as bad as your sister, if you don't take 
care.' 

''I am fit for anything,' returned Isabel^ 
quite averse to the idea that any one so nervous 



STILL T^^\TERS. I49 

and helpless as Miss PeiTott should share her 
responsibility. ' And, besides, David will soon 
be here/ 

' You have sent for him T said the Doctor. 
These were the first words that he had spoken, 
as he stood before Isabel with folded arms, and 
a stony, impassive face. 

^ Yes ; but I am afraid that I did not write 
strongly enough at first, or he would have come 
away at once. I wrote again by the early post 
this morning, and my letter must bring him in 
the course of the night.' 

' If not,' said Dr. Berkeley, ' I can easily go 
to York myself.' 

' Oh no,' said Isabel, shivering at the re- 
collection of the former journey he had under- 
taken on their account ; ' I could not ask you 
to do that again. And, besides, I am sm-e 
that it will not be necessary.' 

It was not so easy to decline Miss Perrott's 
good offices; and indeed arguments would not 
have altered her determination. She waited 
for no invitation to go up-stairs and settle her- 
self, as she said ; and when Isabel was about to 
follow her, the Doctor took and detained her 
hand in his tremulous grasp — 

' You must not think me impertinent,' he 



150 STILL WATEES. 

said_, ^ if I ask whether Miss Leunox appears to 
have anything particular on her mind T 

Isabel was embarrassed by the question. 

' She has had much to try her lately, as you 
know ; enough, Mr. Ball thinks, to account for 
this illness. But now she is unconscious of 
everything.' 

' One moment more/ said Dr. Berkeley ; 
' you knoAv the relief it would be to feel that I 
was of any use to you — to her/ 

^ Pray for us/ said Isabel, in a low voice, as 
she disengaged her hand and turned away. 

Miss Perrott was already established in 
Ruth's room, and Isabel acknowledged with 
surprise and some shame, that the helpless old 
maid was transformed into an efficient sick 
nurse. She devised alleviations which had oc- 
curred to no one else, and applied them with a 
light and skilful hand ; and when she had proved 
her talents, she ui'ged Isabel to confide her 
sister to her care, and seek the rest of which 
she was in need. At first Isabel would only 
consent to lie down on the sofa in the adjoin- 
ing room, but Miss Perrott insisted on her 
going regularly to bed ; and after listening for 
awhile to the sounds which proceeded from the 
sick room, and for the rattle of wheels upon 



STILL WATERS. l^l 

the pavement, which might herald her brother's 
arrival, she fell into a heavy, dreamless sleep, 
which lasted several hours. When she awoke, 
Sally stood by her bedside, in the twilight of 
early morning. 

' Oh '/ said Isabel, starting up, ' I have slept 
too long ! How is she ? and is David come V 

' There is no change, Mr. Ball says. Miss 
Lennox seems easier now, though she moaned 
a good deal through the night. And Mr. David 
has not come, but here is a letter.' 

Isabel seized and tore open the envelope, 
without perceiving that it was not directed in 
her brother's hand; and thus she was wholly 
unprepared for the information it contained. 

' Prospect-place, York, Christmas Eve. 
^My dear Miss Lennox, — You brother de- 
sires me to write and let you know that nothing 
but his own illness could have prevented his 
coming to Holmdale. I hope and believe that 
there is no cause for serious uneasiness, and 
that the inflammation of the lungs which has 
come on in consequence of a neglected cold, 
will subside in a day or two. He was looking 
so ill when we met out hunting last week that 
I was scarcely surprised to hear of this attack, 



15 2^ STILL WATERS. 

and as I happened to be still in the neighbour- 
hood^ I came into York at once, and I shall 
not leave him as long as I can be of the 
slightest use. By the doctor^s advice we have 
moved him out of barracks into lodgings ; and 
as he seems to prefer my company to that 
of the officers in the depot, with none of whom 
he happens to be intimate, I am installed as 
head nurse. His anxiety about your sister 
makes him an unmanageable patient, since he 
fancies himself fit to go over to Holmdale, 
which is far from being the case. So that if 
you should unhappily have occasion to send an 
unfavourable report, I trust that you will soften 
it as much as possible in your letters to him, 
and urge him not to think of moving at 
present. I need not tell you what pain it gives 
me to be the bearer of such tidings, when you 
have already so much upon your mind, or 
assure you that I shall Mrite constantly and 
fully. Lennox sends his love; and I repeat 
his very words — ' Tell her not to fret about me, 
as 1 am well cared for, and shall come away with 
all speed. And she must not overtire herself.' 
' Believe me, my dear Miss Lennox, 
^ Ever very faithfully yours, 

' Edward Lynmere.' 



STILL WATERS. 153 

Isabel was stunned by tliis fresli blow. The 
knowledge that David was ill — seriously ill — 
as she gathered from the tone of the letter^ 
rather than from any particular expression, and 
to be unable to go to him, was more grievous 
than anything she had yet had to bear. The 
proud and exclusive affection lavished on him 
in their childish years, had given place for a 
time to a new and more absorbing love ; but it 
revived in full force, and she repeated wildly, 
that he was her first — her all — that she could 
not give him up. She rose and walked to the 
window, and then remembered, for the first 
time, that it was Christmas morning. It was 
still so early that the street was almost de- 
serted, but the glad holiday aspect of the few 
passers by made IsabeFs heart very full, for 
she felt that no Christmas joy would lighten 
her cares that day. 

' And yet,' she thought, ' the spring of their 
gladness should be the source of our patience. 
Those glad-tidings were to us and to all people — 
peace on earth.' She clasped her hands, learn- 
ing the lesson brought home to all in their 
hour of extremest need, that she must not seek 
the gratification of her self-willed desires, but 
only for strength to bear her appointed cross. 



1-54 STILL WATEKS. 

' Well^ my dear cliild^ what now V said Miss 
Perrott^ as she entered the room. ^ Sally says 
she is afraid that you have some bad news from 
David ; I was just wondering whether he could 
have got into some scrape to prevent his coming/ 

' As if it was the least likely !' returned 
Isabel_, disdainfully. ^ David is ill^ too ill to 
write himself, so that I have only heard from 
Lord Edward Lynmere / and she put the letter 
into Miss Perrott^s hand_, although she thought 
her unworthy to see it, after expressing such an 
unwarranted suspicion. 

^A very feeling letter/ !Miss Perrott re- 
marked. ^ I dare say that he will do the best he 
can for yom- brother ; but it is just like a man, 
to give no particulars — nothing about his pulse, 
or the cough, or the doctor^s opinion.^ 

* So I was thinking,^ said Isabel ; ' we know 
so little, and he must need woman^s nursing. 
I donH know where I am most wanted.^ 

' Oh,^ said Miss Perrott, retracting her for- 
mer remark ; ^ I have no doubt that Lord Ed- 
ward will take every care of him; indeed, he says 
so. After all, I dare say it is nothing serious, 
and illness does not go hard with a strong 
young man like David; very different from 
poor Ruth, who was quite worn-out already.^ 



STILL TTATERS. 155 

^ You need not think that I have forgotten 
Ruth/ said Isahel, as the hot tears started to 
her eyes. ^ I have neglected her long enough ; 
I only wanted to know what I ought to do/ 

!Miss Perrott was not a little flattered that 
Isabel_, the wilful and impetuous, should submit 
to her guidance. 'You see/ she said, '^that, 
putting Ruth out of the question, it would not 
quite do for you to go off to York by yourself, 
to live in lodgings close by the barracks.^ 

'As to that,^ returned Isabel, quickly, '^no 
absurd notions of propriety should keep me 
away.^ 

' My dear Isabel, it would have been a happy 
thing for you if you had paid more attention to 
notions of propriety. I did not mean to vex 
you,^ she added, observing IsabeFs indignant 
colour ; ' young people will be thoughtless, and 
it is natural that you should wish to be with 
your brother, so attached as you have always 
been. But I don^t know what the world would 
say, if you were to leave Ruth in her critical 
state, and go travelling across country to help 
this Lord Edward and half a dozen young 
officers, to nurse Da\id through what may be 
only a bad cold; and though I should take 
aU care of Ruth, you would not feel comfort- 



1^6 STILL WATERS. 

able if anything were to happen while yon are 
away/ 

' Yon need not pnt that motive last/ said 
Isabel ; ' I care for Euth, if I care little for 
what the world may say, and I shall not leave 
her. You talk as if — as if yon expected some 
change. Has Mr. Ball told yon more than he 
tells me V 

' He was here at four this morning, fancying 
that the fever might turn; and then he wishes to 
be at hand, for she might sink fast, if nothing is 
done to uphold her strength. But he saw no 
change, and there has been none since, except 
that she moved once or twice, and called me 
mamma ; poor dear V And Miss Perrott's 
small light-blue eyes twinkled with unwonted 
tears. 

No tears moistened Isabel's burning eye- 
balls, and her face grew rigid in its calmness, 
as she said — 

'Thank you very much for watching with 
her. Mamma would thank you if she could. 
I will dress and come to her room as soon as I 
can, that you may go and rest.' 

' I tell you what will be better ; that you 
should go to the early Communion before you 
take my place. You have not forgotten,' Miss 



STILL WATEKS. 157 

Perrott added^ as Isabel looked irresolute,, '' that 
it is ChristEQas-day/ 

^ Xo^ I had not forgotten ; but I am afraid 
that I should not enter into the service/ 

'You will, if you set your mind to it/' said 
Miss Perrott, persuasively, ^ and you will feel 
better for it afterwards/ 

' I will go/ said Isabel, after a pause, em- 
ployed in pondering, not on the words of her 
companion, but upon the gracious promise made 
to those who are ' weary and heavy laden/ 
It was sm-ely not a time to refuse the invi- 
tation. 

Her resolution did not falter, though it cost 
her a struggle to pass Ruth^s door without 
entering. Miss Perrott had so ruled, declaring 
that it worried the patient to have people 
fidgeting in and out, and Isabel was forced to 
acquiesce. She was sensitive to the chilliness 
of the morning air after her close confinenient to 
the house, but it was rather in the hope of avoid- 
ing recognition that she drew her crape veil over 
her face. The precaution did not avail her, for 
a bright-eyed child belonging to her Sunday 
class crossed the street in order to drop a 
curtsey, and say, in clear joyous tones — 

'Please^ Miss Isabel, a merry Christmas.' 



158 STILL WATERS. 

' She looked strange/ the little girl afterwards 
told her companions ; ' but I think she was 
going to say thank you, only she was stopped 
by something like a sob/ 

The only other Christmas greeting Avhich 
Isabel received was of a different character. 
Dr. Berkeley joined her at the entrance of the 
alley of leafless limes leading up to the church ; 
and when Isabel had answered his hurried in- 
quiries, he seemed unable to pursue the sub- 
ject, and said abruptly — 

^ This is different from other Christmas -days, 
Isabel.' 

' Yes ; but we did not know how happy we 
were till it was too late. It is too late now.' 

^ David has not come V said the Doctor. 

' No ; I will tell you about it afterwards/ 
said Isabel, turning away. She would not dis- 
tract her mind by dwelling on this fresh an- 
xiety, now that she wished to lift her heart 
above earthly cares. The attempt was not un- 
successful. The traces of tears were still on 
her face when she left the church, softening its 
former expression of hopeless misery, and she 
spoke of Ruth and of her brother's illness with 
a sad patience. 

To Dr. Berkeley her report of Lord Edward's 



STILL WATERS. 1 59 

letter appeared sufficiently alarming, yet he did 
not renew his offer of going to York. Perhaps 
the spell was irresistible which bound him to 
hover round that melancholy house in Bean- 
street, his eyes riveted on the window in the 
upper story, which was distinguished from the 
rest by its closed shutters. 



l6o STILL WATERS. 



CHAPTEH XI. 

I have known how sickness bends, 
I have known how sorrow breaks. 

How quick hopes have sudden ends, 
How the heart thinks till it aches 

Of the smile of buried friends. 

E. B. BllOWNING. 

"l /riSS PERHOTT met Isabel in the passage 
-^-^ with such a disturbed face that she asked^ 
with sudden alarm, if Rutli was worse. 

^ No ; but it is a mercy she is not. I have 
had such a piece of work since you went away.^ 

Before Isabel could demand an explanation, 
the appearance of a third person fully accounted 
for Miss Perrott^s discomposure, since it was 
no other than Clara Gascoigne. 

' Oh, Clara !^ 

' Well, Isabel, you could not have looked 
more disturbed if you had seen a ghost.^ 

* A ghost might be more welcome,' answered 
Isabel, with a smile more sad than tears ; ' for 
that only speaks when it is spoken to, and does 
not wear such a horrible rustling silk. Is 
Kuth's door shut?' 



STILL WATERS. l6l 

' I should think so/ said Miss Perrott, 
tersely. 

'^And that/ exclaimed Clara^ 'is the most 
civil thing you can say, when I have come ex- 
press from Scarborough to see her — grievously 
offending my future belle mere, and breaking 
all the engagements I made for to-morrow's 
ball. I positively will not stir till I have seen 
her/ 

' You must not talk so loud/ said Isabel ; 
' come down to the sitting-room.' And she led 
the way there, leaving Miss Perrott to vacillate 
between indignation at Clara's inconsiderate 
wilfulness and reluctant admiration of her 
grace and beauty. 

The sitting-room looked melancholy and de- 
serted, for it had been unused since the be- 
ginning of Ruth's illness; and Clara clasped 
her hands with a gesture of despair — ' Ah ! 
this house would make any one triste. I said 
so when E-uth took it. But tell me, Isabel, is 
she really so ill, or was it only written by Mr. 
Dunn, and said by Miss Perrott, from the in- 
stinct middle-aged, middle-class people have to 
make themselves disagreeable?' 

'You must not say anything against Miss 
Perrott, Clara.' 

VOL. II. M 



l52 STILL WATERS. 

'Why, I am sure she was no favourite of 
yours. She used to he the text for RutVs 
lectures on social duties/ 

' It is hard to remind me of all the flippant, 
heartless things I may have said, at a time 
when the recollection is already sufficiently 
bitter,' said Isabel. 

^ Then tell me about Ruth,' rejoined Clara, 
' and I will not tease you.' 

Isabel gave a brief account of her sister's 
illness, adding, ' Mr. Ball says that perfect 
quiet is the only hope, so you must see how 
impossible it is for you to see her.' 

' I don't see it at all,' answered Clara ; ' if 
she knows no one, my going in cannot disturb 
her more than yours. I will walk on tiptoe, 
and speak in whispers.' 

' The most disturbing thing you could do, 
Clara.' 

^ Well, you need not be so contemptuous on 
my qualifications as nurse, for you must allow 
that I did her all the good in the world by 
carrying her off to Dyne Court. If she had 
stayed there, I believe she would have escaped 
this illness.' 

'I believe she would,' said Isabel, tremu- 
lously ; ' and she came away on my account. 



STILL WATERS. 1 63 

She never spared herself when she was ill and 
weary, and all the while I thought only of 
myself. And now I can see that Mr. Ball 
expects the worst — yet not the worst for her. 
Shall I tell yon, Clara, the verse she repeated 
over and over again the first night that she 
was taken ill ? — ^ Oh that I had wings like a 
dove, for then would I flee away and be at 
rest.' ' 

' She will not die,' said Clara, recoiling 
from the thought. ' Do not look so unhappy, 
Isabel. I don't want to keep you, but you 
must let me have one little peep at her.' 

Isabel's refusal was positive, and Clara was 
at last induced to give up the point. She ob- 
served that, if she was to be of no use, she 
might as well return to go to church with Sir 
John; but she was still arranging the folds of 
the ofiending silk dress, when she hazarded 
the first allusion to David that had been made 
on either side. 

' I have not told you,' she said, trying, but 
with less success than usual, to speak with an 
air of unconcern — ' I have not told you how I 
met my Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance 
in York.' 

Isabel had considered Clara unworthy of 

M % 



164 STILL WATERS. 

sharing this additional anxiety, but she now 
looked np with tearful eagerness. 

' You mean Lord Edward. Did he say any- 
thing of David T 

' He mentioned his illness ; but I suppose 
you have heard by the post/ 

' Yes ; but he may have given you more 
particulars. Did he seem anxious, and spesk 
as if he was very ill ?' 

^To tell you the truth, he spoke rather 
pointedly, and seemed anxious to make the 
■worst of it in order to awaken my compunc- 
tion. As if,^ Clara added, lightly, *^in these 
modern days, a disappointment in love sent 
people into a consumption. Why, I should be 
just as well and merry if I heard to-morrow 
that Evelyn has gone off with Miss Thomason. 
She is gone to Gibraltar, and, as I hear, they 
are flirting outrageously.^ 

' Did he say consumption ?' said Isabel, not 
heeding, and scarcely hearing the latter part of 
Clara^s speech. 

' I forgot whether he used the word exactly ; 
but he implied it, solely, as I said just now, 
from a desire to make me uncomfortable, in 
which he did not at all succeed. I told him to 
assm'e Mr. Lennox that I was on my way to 



STILL WATERS. 165 

Holmdale, on purpose to help you to take care 
of Euth, so that he might keep his mind easy. 
Lord Edward said dubiously, that he should 
not fail to deliver my message, if it was likely 
to have that effect — so very insulting.' 

' I must go up to Ruth now/ said Isabel, 
wearily. She wondered at her own folly in 
supposing that it was possible for Clara to set 
at rest the sickening anxiety awakened by her 
careless words. The warnings of other years 
concerning the delicacy of Da%T.d^s constitution 
rose up before her, and though Lord Edward 
had only written of a neglected cold, little 
more might be needed to implant the seeds of 
that terrible disease. 

* I did not mean to keep you,^ said Clara, 
' but you must let me sit here until the carriage 
comes to fetch me. I desired that it might 
come round in an hour.^ 

Isabel took Miss Perrott^s place by her 
sister's bedside, and impatiently awaited Mr. 
Ball's return. There was little apparent change : 
Uuth's breathing was still heavy and irregular; 
her mind as little conscious as before ; her 
movements, if anything, rather feebler. The 
icy coldness of the grasp in which Isabel re- 
tained one of the restless, quivering hands 



1 65 STILL WATEES. 

seemed grateful, and in that position Isabel sat 
still and prayed. 

The silence was broken by the doctor^s slow, 
cautious footfall along the passage ; but it was 
followed by a lighter step^ and Isabel was dis- 
mayed, though not surprised, when Clara en- 
tered with ]Mr. Ball. She walked on tiptoe, as 
she had engaged to do, her finger on her lips, 
and something like a smile of triumph dim- 
pling her cheeks. The smile died on her lips 
when 'My. Ball drew back the shutter in order 
to see his patient, and admitted a sickly ray of 
light into the darkened room. Kurtm-ed in 
luxurious ease, and shielded from all which 
might shock and offend the senses, Clara was 
wholly unprepared for the sight which met her 
eyes. It was terrible to see features so familiar 
altered and disfigured beyond the power of re- 
cognition; the brows red and swelled, the eyes 
glazed, the lips parched, and, above all, the 
vacancy of expression. Xow, however, Kuth 
raised her heavy eyes with something like 
awakening consciousness, and looked at Clara, 
who had pressed forward to the foot of the bed. 
She struggled to speak, and at length succeeded 
in pronouncing Clara^s name articulately. 

^Yes, dear,^ Clara answered with a sob. 



STILL WATERS. 15; 

' It is you/ said Kutli^ slowly ; ^ I have 
waited so long. Now that I am so ill^ you 
will answer and say what has become of Jasper. 
Perhaps he told you what he was going to do ; 
he would have told me if you had waited/ 

' Indeed, Ruth, he told me nothing/ said 
Clara, and an expression of ^ hope deferred' 
crept over RutVs face. Before she could speak 
again, Mr. Ball said peremptorily — 

' Take her away. Miss Isabel ; this will never 
do. It only increases the excitement to answer 
her.' 

Isabel compHed with his directions, and led 
Clara from the room, who had just self-control 
sufficient to restrain a fit of hysterics until she 
was outside the door. But the sounds reached 
;Mr. BalFs ears, and he hurried out, sending 
Isabel back to the sick-room, and inveighing 
against his own folly in trusting to Clara's pro- 
fessions of good behaviour. He fairly fright- 
ened her out of this exhibition of feeling by 
administering such home truths as she had pro- 
bably never heard before, or at least from none 
but Ptuth. In a few minutes she was on her 
way back to Dyne Court, feeling disconsolate, 
ill-used, and unhappy; trying to soothe her 
agitated nerves, and chase away a headache 



i6S STILL WATERS. 

with eau cle Cologne^ and wishing that it were 
equally easy to efface the image of suffering 
and sickness so vividly impressed upon her 
brain. 

' I did not know how to refuse her/ Mr. 
Ball said, apologetically, when, after resuming 
the examination of his patient, he summoned 
Isabel into the adjoining room to inform her of 
his opinion. ' She made such a point of see- 
ing her, and promised to behave so well ; and 
really the quickness with which Miss Lennox 
recognised her was a good sign, though I was 
alarmed by the excitement which followed.^ 

To this faint shadow of hope Isabel clung 
despairingly. 



STILL WATERS. 169 



CHAPTER XII. 

Like a tree beside the river 

Of her life, that runs from me. 
Do I lean me, murmuring ever, 

In my love's idolatry. 
In my ears the sii-en river 

Sings, and smiles up in my face ; 
But for ever, and for ever 

Euns fi'om my embrace. 

Geeald Massey. 

' TSABEL !' whispered Euth. 
-■- Three days had passed. The fever had 
subsided; consciousness had returned; and 
though too weak to speak above her breath 
or raise her hand from the coverlet_, Kuth was 
pronounced out of danger. Isabel bent down 
to catch her faint tones. 

^ Isabel^ where is David ? You must have 
sent for him when I was so ill ; and he is not 
here.^ 

' He is at York ; he could not come/ said 
Isabel. 

' And you look so anxious_, though I heard 



170 STILL WATERS. 

Mr. Ball tell you not to be anxious about me. 
Is anything amiss with David V 

Isabel struggled to diive back the tears 
which might have agitated her sister. ^ He 
has been ill ; but Miss Perrott says that I am 
foolish and ungrateful not to trust that all will 
be well now that you are getting better.' 

Ruth's eyes demanded an explanation ; and 
with an effort to make light of her uneasiness, 
Isabel detailed the particulars of her brother's 
illness. She need not have been so much 
afraid of alarming Ruth, for her excessive weak- 
ness had induced a certain languor of mind 
^vhich gave no place for agitation. As one of 
Isabel's glossy curls fell over her face, she 
caressingly entwined it round her finger, as she 
said, ' Poor child ! It was good of you to stay 
and nurse me when you must have longed to 
be with David.' 

^ I did not wish it while you were so ill. I 
should not think of it now, only Lord Edward 
■writes that David is so restless and anxious to 
be with us, that he is afraid of his undertaking 
the journey before he is fit for it.' 

' Then you ought to go to him to keep him 
quiet ; I want no one now but Sally.' 

' You wiU miss me a little/ said Isabel, ten- 



STILL WATERS. 171 

derly. ^ And^ besides^ ^liss Perrott says that it 
will not do for me to go aloue/ 

Ruth smiled faintly, to think how Isabel 
must have been tamed before she accepted 
INIiss Perrott's code of propriety. But she only 
said, ^ In that case. Miss Perrott can do no less 
than act duemia/ 

Isabel repeated her objections to leading her 
sister to Sally^s care, and nothing more was 
said at the time; but when Miss Perrott her- 
self came in to send Isabel out for a breath of 
fi'esh ail', Ruth renewed the subject. ' Isabel 
has been telling me of Da\id's illness.^ 

' I thought Isabel had more sense/ rejoined 
Miss Perrott, tartly ; ' I beg you will not think 
of it, but remember that ^Ir. Ball wishes you 
to keep your mind easy. The boy has had 
the influenza, always very depressing; and he 
chooses to magnify it into a serious illness, for 
the sake of making himself important. Men 
always do.^ 

* I have no doubt he would be much happier 
if he had a woman to nurse and cheer him.^ 

'^You don^t mean to say,-' retm-ned Miss 
Perrott, ^that you encourage Isabel's absm-d 
inclination to run off from her duties here to 
live in barracks with him, or at least in lodg- 



17^ STILL WATERS. 

ings close by, which comes to the same thing. 
I thought that I had convinced Isabel herself 
that it wonld never do/ 

' She could not go^ unless you will be kind 
enough to go with her/ 

Miss Perrott happily remembered the weak- 
ness of KutVs head in time to suppress a little 
shriek of dismay. She had not slept a night 
out of Holmdale for eighteen years^ and she 
was afraid of clamp sheets, railway collisions, 
and all possible and impossible evils. But 
Ruth overruled all objections, and ]\Iiss Perrott 
knew not how to refuse a request made as a 
personal favour to Ruth herself. 

^Though you have no right to ask it, my 
dear,^ she added, ^ for you are not in the least 
fit to take care of yourself.^ 

' Mr. Ball says I have nothing to do but to 
lie quiet, and eat and sleep,^ said Ruth ; ' and 
Sally can keep the door against all intruders.^ 

' Miss Perrott observed, that if they were to 
go at all, the sooner the better, and she went 
home to make the necessary preparations for 
starting on the morrow. IsabePs eyes glistened 
when she found on her return that everything 
was arranged for their departure. Was Ruth 
sure she ought to go ? And, satisfied on that 



STILL WATERS. 173 

pointy she confessed that she thought so too. 
She found Lord Edward's last report still less 
satisfactory on a second reading, and the few 
lines added by David himself were written in 
straggling, uneven characters, which betrayed 
the weakness of which he complained. 

When, however, the moment of departure 
came, Isabel clung round her sister, as if un- 
able to tear herself away. Ruth spoke cheer- 
fully, saying, that she meant to be well enough 
to make tea for her and David on their return ; 
and with a long kiss, and a whispered entreaty 
that she would be prudent, Isabel hurried 
away. Her last words were to Sally — 

' You understand that Miss Gascoigne is not 
to be admitted on any pretence whatever.^ 

' Not if I can help it. Miss Isabel,' said 
Sally, doubtfully. She had been too often 
baffled by Clara's pertinacity to have much 
confidence in her powers of resistance. 

Although the journey to York only occupied 
two or three hours, it was wearisome enough. 
!Miss Perrott^s restlessness disturbed the equani- 
mity of her fellow-travellers, especially those of 
the masculine gender ; she was encumbered by 
more than her fair share of loose parcels, with 
which she was continually migrating from one 



174 STILL WATERS. 

seat to another^ to escape imaginary draughts^ 
and she was at last constrained to tie a three- 
cornered shawl over her bonnet, as a silent 
reproach to the strong-minded person who 
insisted on putting down part of the window. 
Isabel gave a mechanical assent to her queru- 
lons reminiscences of the greater deference 
paid to ladies in her younger days ; but all the 
while her thoughts were straying between the 
sick room she had left and the one to which 
she was hastening. 

^ I hope Lord Edward will meet us ; it will 
be awkward if we have to call a cab for our- 
selves/ said Miss Perrott, as the train slackened 
speed to enter the station at York. 

' We shall do very well/ said Isabel ; but 
as she spoke she descried Lord Edward^s tall, 
erect figure on the platform. She had last 
seen him in the dining-room at Wentworth 
Lodge, and the recollection came full upon her 
amid a storm of mingled feeling which it was 
difficult to subdue. Yet, if her heart swelled, 
her voice was calm and quiet, as she said, ' I am 
sorry that you should have troubled yourself 
to come and meet us ; I only wrote to tell you 
of our coming, for fear it might startle David.^ 

^ Your letter was a great relief,' said Lord 



STILL WATERS. 175 

Edward_, ' for_, thougli you must not think me 
weary of my charge, I feel that Lennox needs 
a sister^s nursing. Unfortunately his lodgings 
are too confined to take you in^ but I have 
engaged rooms for you within a few minutes' 
walk.' 

^ The luggage !' interposed Miss Perrott^ 
piteously; 'the train will certainly go off with 
it — ^two boxes and a bag — I must go and look 
after it '/ 

' Pray do not move/ said Lord Edward^ with 
ready courtesy ; ' I am sure that I can find it. 
Two boxes and a bag, did you say^ Miss 
Perrott V 

' Very well bred !' remarked Miss Perrott, 
as Lord Edward started on his quest ; ' but I 
wondered at you, Isabel, that you could go on 
making civil speeches, without thinking of the 
luggage, or so much as asking after David/ 

' I did not dare,' said Isabel, in a low tone, 
which did not reach her companion's ears. 
Lord Edward presently returned ; and in a few 
minutes they were seated in the fly, which he 
directed should go round by Sheet- street, to 
leave their goods, before proceeding to Prospect- 
place. 

' Including me, I suppose,' said Miss Per- 



1 7^ STILL WATERS. 

rott, with a little, sliort laugli, which discon- 
certed Lord Edward. After a moment^s hesi- 
tation between sincerity and politeness, he 
said frankly — 

^ I believe it would be better. Lennox has 
one or two sick fancies, and among them is a 
dislike to new faces.' 

A half-uttered soliloquy, ' that her face was 
old enough/ betrayed Miss Perrott^s inclination 
to be offended ; but she thought better of it, and 
observed, that she could make things comfort- 
able before IsabeFs return. 

She was left to execute her intentions and 
to pay the flyman, while Isabel set out with 
Lord Edward to walk to Prospect-place. Alone 
with him, she found courage to make the in- 
quiries which had faltered on her lips. 

^ Will you tell me, Lord Edward, what you 
really think of him V 

^ You must be prepared to see him looking 
ill,^ he answered, gently. 

^ I know I must ; but tell me exactly how 
he is.^ 

' He has been ill enough since I came to 
him, yet never so ill as he was before he allowed 
that anything was amiss. All who saw him at 
the meet at Elverly Gorse were shocked by his 



STILL WATERS. I 77 

looks and the sound of his cough; and when 
I rode into York next morning, I Tvas relieved 
to hear that he had given in, and sent for the 
doctor/ 

' He never mentioned his cough/ said Isabel. 

^Yery likely not — nor his motive for such 
imprudence. Mrs. Evelyn Gascoigne and her 
party came over from Scarborough, to attend 
the military ball, and they were afterwards 
visiting Sir Richard Cassilies, on whose pro- 
perty the meet took place/ 

' Clai'a did not tell me that she had seen him.' 

' It is true, notwithstanding. I was also at 
the ball, and I had occasion more than once to 
contradict the report that your brother was the 

officer in the th to whom Miss Gascoigne 

is engaged. Do not imagine,' Lord Edward 
added, after a pause, ' that I speak fi'om any 
personal interest in the matter. Whatever I 
may have thought of Miss Gascoigne, her 
heartless levity has dispersed the illusion as 
completely as if it had never existed.' 

The bitterness of his tone warned Isabel that 
he was not yet qualified to be a dispassionate 
judge ; and as she was not so charitably disposed 
towards Clara as to undertake her defence, it 
was easier to speak of any other subject. 

VOL. II. N 



170 STILL WATERS. 

'Will David be pleased to see me?^ 

' At first/ said Lord Edward, frankly, ' he was 
annoyed to hear of your coming, thinking that 
you could not be spared from home ; but he 
was induced to accept it as a proof of your 
sister's convalescence/ 

' It was Ruth who persuaded me to come/ 
said Isabel. ^We felt that it was unfair to 
leave him any longer in your charge/ 

^It must be confessed/ said Lord Edward, 
' that Lennox is an intractable patient. He is 
so variable, sometimes languid and depressed, 
and then, again, determined to resume duty, 
or go out hunting, or start for Holmdale. 
And you must be prepared to find him altered ; 
his looks are the worst part of him.' 

This was not encouraging ; and it was with a 
faint and fluttering heart that Isabel ascended 
the stair of her brother's lodging. Lord Ed- 
ward would have parted from her at the door, 
if the maid had not informed him that there 
were other gentlemen up-stairs. He looked 
annoyed, observing that the vicinity of Prospect- 
place to the barracks made David's room much 
too convenient a lounge for the officers. Ac- 
cordingly they found the atmosphere of the 
small low room unsuited to an invalid. Three 



STILL WATERS. 



179 



young men stood on the rug, fresh from the 
evening air, so that their loose and shaggy- 
coats steamed before the fire, and the cigar in 
the mouth of one of them was possibly in- 
tended to correct the dampness of the air. 
David himself was reclining on a horse-hair 
sofa, a railway wrapper and one round bolster 
its only appliances of ease; and the comfort- 
less aspect of the room was quite in keeping 
with this establishment. The chairs were set 
against the wall, piled with newspapers and 
great-coats, while the heavy centre table stood 
empty, ready to receive David^s next meal. 

Isabel took in this general impression of the 
room at one rapid glance, for the confusion 
which followed her entrance put a stop to 
further researches. The owner of the cigar 
was also the proud possessor of a bull-terrier, 
which started up to justify his barrack -educa- 
tion, by resenting the intrusion of the wearer 
of shawl and bonnet. ' Price^ was instantly 
required to pacify his dog ; and as he was de- 
sirous at the same time to dispose of his cigar, 
and to apologize to Miss Lennox, he only 
looked helpless and distracted. Isabel drew 
back with the air of shy stateliness which she 
involuntarily wore before strangers, while Lord 

N 2, 



l8o STILL WATERS. 

Edward pressed forward^ and silenced the 
animaPs fierce growl by an indignant word and 
gesture, wliich its owner seemed to take to 
himself. 

' Here, Nipper^ good Nipper, lie down, sir. 
We meant no offence, did we V 

' Nor did I take any/ said Lord Edward ; 
* I only wished to make way for Miss Lennox.^ 

The young men took the hint, and after 
lingering for a moment to gaze curiously at 
the stranger, they left the room. Lord Ed- 
ward only waited to follow them down-stairs 
until he had informed Isabel that he would 
return to walk back with her to Sheet- street, 
and the brother and sister were left together. 
But the welcome which Isabel had hoped was 
only reserved until they were alone, was still 
withheld. David did not raise himself from 
the sofa — he did not even raise his eyes — but 
continued to balance a letter-weight on his 
fingers ; in which interesting occupation he had 
been engaged from the time of his sister^s 
entrance. 

^ I hope you are better, David,' said Isabel, 
timidly stooping to kiss his foreheadj and 
remarking, as she did so, with a sudden pang, 
how distinctly the blue veins were traced 



STILL WATERS. l8l 

Tipon liis temples^ as well as tlie expression of 
languor and weariness in wliicli the lines of his 
face were settled. 

' I wrote that I was better/ said Da^dd^ un- 
graciously. 

' Yes ; but Lord Edward was afraid that you 
would think yourself well too soon, and move 
before you are fit for it.^ 

'^Lord Edward might allow me to manage 
my own affairs.' 

' Oh, David ! when he has been so kind in 
nursing you.' 

' So kind, that I wonder that you thought 
of interfering with his province. And_, besides, 
you had to take care of Kuth; or did you 
only make the worst of her illness for the 
sake of giving me something pleasant to think 
of?' 

' Euth wished me to come/ said Isabel. 
She could not go on ; but, as she still stood 
behind her brother, he did not see her strug- 
gling to drive back her tears, and he resumed 
with increasing irritation — 

' And then the idea of bringing ^liss Perrott 
was really preposterous. It is well you are in 
separate lodgings, for nothing will induce me to 
see her. The very sight of her wizened apple- 



1 82 STILL WATERS. 

face^ and of the ill-assorted colours of her dress, 
would throw me into a fever/ 

^ I am sorry that we came, since you do not 
like it/ said Isabel ; and her subdued and falter- 
ing tone touched David, already half ashamed 
of his petulance. He caught at one of Isabels 
clustering curls, so as to draw down her face 
on a level with his own, and finding that it was 
wet with tears, he said, hastily — 

' Foolish child ! there is nothing to be sorry 
about. Only you have taken a useless jour- 
ney, for I am determined to apply for sick- 
leave and go home at once. Tell me about 
Ruth.^ 

Isabel began her story; but her brother 
listened with divided attention, and it pre- 
sently appeared to whom his thoughts were 
straying. 

*■ It was so like lier^ he said, in a quick, 
nervous voice, ^ to start off at once, as soon as 
she heard of Ruth's illness, giving up all the 
gaieties.^ 

'^You mean Clara,' said Isabel, with con- 
straint. ' How did you hear it T 

'Not from you, you prudent sister; but I 
contrived to extract the truth from Lynmere, 
though he was equally disposed to reserve. He 



STILL WATEIiS. 1 83 

met her on the platform, where I had sent him 
to forage for some light literature, when she 
was on her way to Dyne Court. So you may 
finish the story. Have you seen much of her, 
and did you leave Ruth in her care ?' 

' Not exactly/ said Isabel, smiling at the 
thought of her last injunctions to Sally. She 
did not choose to repeat them, however, only 
observing that Ruth was still too weak to bear 
a strange voice or face. 

' Miss Gascoigne is no stranger,^ rejoined 
David ; ' but I see how it is. You have been 
as ungracious as possible, because you resent 
wrongs for which Miss Gascoigne is not answer- 
able.^ 

IsabeFs heart swelled at the unjust reproach, 
for it was the sense of her brother^s wrongs, 
rather than her own, which had estranged her 
from Clara; and though aware that it would 
be better to let the matter rest, she could not 
forbear replying — 

^ Oh, David, why should we talk of Clara ? 
She is, and can be, nothing to you now.' 

^ I do not know that,' answered David, while 
the bright, fixed colour in his cheeks overspread 
face and brow. ' If it had not been for this 
— this illness -/ he remembered his sister's pre- 



1S4 STILL WATERS. 

serice in time to suppress the epithet which 
rose to his lips — ' she might have been mine. I 
believe she may be mine yet. But it is useless 
to speak to one from whom I can expect 
neither sympathy nor interest/ 

' Trust me^ David/ said Isabel ; and, moved 
by her words, as well as by the tears which fell 
hot upon the hand she was caressing, her bro- 
ther resumed — 

' There, I did not mean to vex you ; but if 
you were fretted and fevered with impatience 
as I am, you would know how hard it is for a 
man to keep his tongue in order. At first we 
met accidentally ; at least I knew that it was 
possible Mrs. Evelyn Gascoigne might come 
from Scarborough for the officers' ball, but of 
course I was obliged to be there. I saw her 
the moment she came in, looking paler than 
usual, but quite as pretty. I kept aloof, danc- 
ing the whole evening with the Clarkes and 
Maudes, until we met by chance in the supper- 
room. She asked after you and Ruth, and said 
rather reproachfully that she thought I had cut 
her. And then you know I was obliged to ask 
her to dance.' 

^ Well V said Isabel ; for her brother paused, 
perhaps in order to recall the mingled sensa- 



STILL WATERS. 185 

tions witli whicli he had yielded to such an 
obligation. 

' \Yell, we have only met two or three times 
since, and her manner was just what it has ever 
been — bright and varying, and ever fascinating. 
"^Then she spoke of Evelyn Gascoigne at all, it 
was as if she began to know how unworthy he 
is to be named in the same breath with her, 
going on as he does with ^liss Thomason.^ 

' Oh, David ! I hope that you did not tell 
her that.^ 

^ Not I ; I would not take the fellow^s name 
between my teeth. But I forgot ; you may not 
like to hear what I think of him.^ 

'^ Thank you/ replied Isabel, her full lip 
cm'ving with no gentle emotion, ' you need 
not spare him on my account; but I would 
rather hear of Clara.^ 

' There is little more to tell. As I said just 
now, her manner was not always the same, and 
the impression which I made one day seemed 
to have vanished the next; so I could not 
bear to give in, when this cough came on, 
and that day at Elverly Gorse finished me. It 
was chilly, and dank, and miserable — a fine 
hunting-day, people said. How I shivered as I 
rode home, with a pain in my chest -^hich 



l85 STILL WATEKS. 

would not let me go off a foot's pace; and though 
she was there, looking her best on horseback, 
as she always does, she was so surrounded by 
fine people that I could not get near her/ 

Although Isabel saw that her brother was in 
no mood to bear contradiction, she felt con- 
strained to make some protest. ^ But, after all, 
David, she is still engaged to Captain Gascoigne/ 

' What then T he rejoined, fiercely ; ' am I 
to consider myself under any obligation to that 
empty-headed coxcomb V 

' An empty-headed coxcomb ! Oh, David, 
he is not that/ 

^ I thought that you gave me leave to say 
what I pleased of that worthy,^ rejoined David, 
in a tone which silenced Isabel. He went on 
with nervous haste — ' Besides, I expect Sir 
John himself to break off the engagement. He 
has had to pay Gascoigne's debts since he 
went back to Gibraltar, and he cannot have 
been very well pleased with their amount. And 
instead of coming home as soon as his affairs 
were settled, he has put off the sale of his 
commission on any idle excuse, for the sake, 
as Miss Gascoigne herself says, of enjoying his 
liberty a little longer, and pursuing his flirta- 
tion with Miss Thomason.' 



STILL WATERS. 1 87 

Tliat Clara should make such a speech was 
less surprising than that David should repeat it 
with complacency; and Isabel could only wonder 
in silence at his infatuation, since his hurried 
breathing, and low, frequent cough, warned her 
of the risk of agitating him by any opposition. 

Lord Edward's entrance was a relief, since 
David was forced to turn to other subjects. 
And Isabel was gratified by his full inquiries 
after her sister, which enabled her to go over 
the details of her illness, still too fresh in her 
recollection to be set aside. Then tea came in ; 
and though ashamed of leaving ]\riss Perrott so 
long alone, Isabel stayed to make it, and was 
rewarded by hearing that it was the first time 
David had found the tea drinkable since his 
illness. 

^ Well, what did you think of him V said 
Lord Edward, as he and Isabel walked home 
together. 

Isabel replied, in an unsteady voice, ^ 1 — I 
don't know; he does not think himself that 
there is anything really amiss.' 

They did not speak again, except to ex- 
change a good-night on the door-step of the 
lodgings. 



l88 STILL WATERS. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thoa 

Shouldst lead me on. 
I loved to choose and see my path ; hut now 

Lead Thou me on ! 
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears. 
Pride ruled my will : rememher not past years ! 

J. H. Newman. 

ISABEL had been more than a week in 
York before her brother succeeded in ob- 
taining his doctor's sanction to return to 
Holmdale. Indeed it was only obtained by 
importunity, and the physician informed Lord 
Edward that, although it was useless to combat 
a sick man's fancy, he considered that if Mr. 
Lennox chose to move at all in such severe 
weather, he ought to seek some milder climate. 
Lord Edward repeated this advice, and it was 
enforced by Isabel ; but David laughed at them 
both, declaring that he had been coddled quite 
long enough, and that he should employ the 
remainder of his sick-leave in enjoying life at 
home. And when Isabel had written to pre- 
pare Euth for their arrival on the following 



STILL WATERS. 1 89 

Monday, his spirits rose so much, that he pro- 
nounced himself equal to an interview with 
Miss Perrott, whom he had hitherto declined 
to see. 

Poor Miss Perrott had some cause to think 
herself aggrieved by the aiTangements of the 
foregoing week ; and she was doubtful whether 
her offended dignity would permit her to ac- 
cept the invitation so tardily made, to come 
and drink tea with Da\id on the following 
evening. 

^ I hardly think I can go/ she replied ; ' the 
nights are so cold, and the streets hardly safe 
for walking, this slippery weather.^ 

* We did not think of your walking,^ said 
Isabel; ^Lord Edward knows where to get a 
Bath chair, or else we can take a fly.' 

^ That would be a very unnecessary expense, 
for I can drink my tea just as well alone. I 
am quite used to it, you know.' 

'But / am not used to it/ said Isabel, 
pleadingly ; ' it makes me quite uncomfortable 
when I cannot get home in time. I really 
could not help it to-night, for Lord Edward 
took my letter to the post, and David made 
me wait tiU he came back, as he did not like 
me to walk home alone in the dark.' 



190 STILL WATERS. 

' Lord Edward is sucli a devoted cavalier/ 
observed !Miss Perrott, ' running your errands, 
and escorting you hither and tliither_, that my 
attendance might have been dispensed with/ 

' He is very good-natured/ said Isabel^ not 
choosing to see more than the simple meaning 
of the words. ' It was so kind of him to stay 
on^ leading what must be a very tiresome life 
for a man ; for I donH know what I should 
have done without him. He checks David^s 
imprudence when I have quite failed, and never 
minds putting him out for the time ; and they 
are as good friends as ever afterwards. Then 
it amuses me to see him coolly turning all the 
officers out of the room as soon as he comes 
into it, and so politely, that it is impossible for 
them to take offence.^ 

' I don^t like the looks of those officers/ 
observed ^liss Perrott. ^ Some of them came 
out of the house as I left you at the door this 
morning, and they brushed by so quickly, very 
unlike Lord Edward^s courtesy ; and they dress 
in a different style. ^ 

^ Yes/ Isabel replied ; ' but you must re- 
member the difference in age. These are 
David's contemporaries, and it is very possible 
that Lord Edward was a gay young man once, 



STILL WATERS. 19 1 

and as soigne in his dress as any of thera, 
before he outgrew such youthful follies/ 

' Why^ my dear/ said Miss Perrott^ ' you 
talk as if Lord Edward was quite an elderly 
man. He cannot be much past thirty — not 
past five-and-thu'ty at the most/ 

' Very likely not/ said Isabel, indifferently ; 
' but one counts a man^s age by his cares 
rather than his years^ and Lord Edward has 
evidently known enough of life to sober him. 
No one thinks of calling lluth young. Oh^ 
Miss Perrott_, how very glad I shall be to see 
Ruth again ! It will make up for everything 
which is disagi'eeable in going home.^ 

' What is disagreeable^ my dear V said 
Miss Perrott ; but the question remained un- 
answered. 

David murmured throughout the following 
day at the impending infliction of Miss Per- 
rott's society; but when she actually appeared, 
he received her with a good grace, and was 
more like his old self than Isabel had yet seen 
him. The presence of a third person imposed 
some restraint on the petulance with which he 
was apt to resent any opposition to the caprice 
of the moment, and he was ashamed to exact 
the same service fi'om his sister which she ren- 



193 STILL WATEES. 

dered with unwearied patience when they were 
alone. In such offices of love she only took 
delight, but there was great relief in feeling 
secure for a whole evening from any mention 
of Clara Gascoigne, which was ever allied with 
an accusation of indifference to all in which 
David^s happiness was involved. He knew not, 
and never dreamed of the prayer which went 
forth night after night from Isabel, bowed and 
prostrate, with quivering hands clasped over 
her face : — ' Thy will be done ! Teach him, 
Lord, in Thine own way, and at Thine own 
time, yet take him not hence till he has learned 
to seek Thee first.^ It was that sickening 
dread which robbed her of heart and hope. 
Others might forebode a different end to this 
illness ; but he spoke only of recovery, and of 
that absorbing and unjustifiable passion which 
made life dear. If the sentence had indeed 
gone forth, was he prepared to meet it ? 

Only in prayer, however, could Isabel en- 
dure to put her fears into words, and she had 
not prepared Miss Perrott for the change she 
saw in David. Shocked by his appearance, she 
forgot the sharp things she had put aside to 
say to him on the first opportunity ; and was in 
danger of annoying him in a different way, by 



STILL WATERS. - 1 93 

expressing too great commiseration. It was 
his fancy^ that evenings to throw off all invalid 
habits; he insisted that the two ladies should 
occupy the sofa^ while he set about making the 
toast and preparing the tea^ amid talk and 
laughter; and in this way he so much overtasked 
his strength^ as to bring on a fit of coughing^ 
which ended in an attack of breathlessness. 

Miss Perrott was nervous and agitated, and 
though Isabel was too well-used to these 
attacks to be so easily alarmed, she was grate- 
ful for Lord Edward's entrance^ who helped 
her brother back to the sofa, censured his 
imprudence, and warned him that if he did not 
take care, he would be unfit for his journey on 
the morrow. 

' I submit to your tyranny to-night/ replied 
Da^-id, as soon as he had recovered his voice, 
' because it is the last of your reign. To-mor- 
row I shall do as I please.' 

' I am not so sui'e of that,' said Lord Ed- 
ward^ composedly. ' I am going your way ; and 
I do not intend to resign my charge until you 
are fairly landed in Bean-street.' 

^Are you really going to Holmdaler' said 
Isabel, in a tone of genuine satisfaction, not 
echoed by her brother. 

VOL. II. o 



194 - STILL WATERS. 

^ To Dyne Court, of course/ he said. 

* To a more agreeable place/ replied Lord 
Edward. ^ The Doctor has invited me to stay 
with him/ 

^ The Doctor !^ repeated Isabel ; ' he has 
never had any one to stay with him within my 
recollection.^ 

' You must not be too particular about your 
fare/ added David. 'I suspect he lives on 
potatoes and buttermilk, and perhaps he may 
serve up a fried manuscript by way of a deli- 
cacy ; and you must beware of displacing the 
contents of a chair when you are tired of 
standing, for the Doctor loves his books much 
better than his guests.^ 

^Oh, David !' said Isabel; ^ there is no one 
more kind and hospitable than the Doctor.' 

' He means well/ observed Miss Perrott, sen- 
tentiously, 'but he sadly wants humanizing; 
and latterly he has been more eccentric than 
ever.' 

' I do not care/ said Isabel ; ' the Doctor is 
so good as he is, that I do not wish for any 
change.' 

' I quite agree with you,' said Lord Edward, 
with equal warmth ; ^ and I look forward to my 
visit with great pleasure.' 



STILL WATERS. 1 95 

* So do not 1/ said David ; ' it defeats my 
prospects of liberty. I meant to eat and drink^ 
and talk, and go out as I pleased, with no one 
to preach prudence. You must have extracted 
an invitation from the Doctor on false pre- 
tences; do you profess to have discovered how 
to square a circle, or to decipher an unknown 
character V 

' I do not know what researches we are to 
pursue/ said Lord Edward; ^the Doctor has 
asked me to stay at the School-house, and it 
was too good an offer to be refused/ 

Isabel suspected that a letter to Dr. Berke- 
ley, in which she had mentioned Lord Edward^s 
influence over her brother, had prompted this 
invitation ; but she only observed — 

' So now you will see Ruth, Lord Edward ; 
you do not know her at all.^ 

^ I have not seen her more than twice,' he 
replied, ' and I shall be very glad to improve 
my acquaintance. But I scarcely expected to 
hear that she was well enough to receive visi- 
tors.' 

' Not ordinary visitors,' said Isabel, with the 

winning frankness which gave such a charm to 

her manner ; ' but she will be very glad to see 

you. She writes that we are to find her in the 

o % 



ig6 STILL WATERS. 

sitting-room^ ready to make tea as usual^ though 
she has not cared to go down before^ to see all 
Holmdale. I should not venture to believe 
her own account of herself if it were not con- 
firmed by Mr. Ball.' 

' If she will only take common care/ ejacu- 
lated Miss Perrott. ' This illness was entirely 
brought on by over-exertion/ 

' I know/ said Isabel, the quick tears start- 
ing to her eyes ; ' you need not remind me of 
that.' 

'' It was no fault of yours/ said David, with 
a defiant glance towards Miss Perrott ; ^ no 
power on earth will prevent some persons from 
working themselves to death. Only take warn- 
ing by her fate ; you are becoming as lantem- 
jawed as Ruth herself.' 

^ Never mind my looks/ said Isabel, as she 
pillowed her oval cheek on David^s hand, with 
a caressing gesture ; ' if you and Ruth will only 
make haste to be well, I shall grow rosy too.' 



STILL WATERS. * 1 97 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Behind him was Reprocli, Eepentaunce, Shame : 
Reproch the first, Shame next, Repent hehinde : 
Repentaunce feeble, sorrowful!, and lame ; 
Reproch despightfull, carelesse, and unkinde ; 
Shame most ill-favoured, bestiall, and blinde : 
Shame lowrd, Repentaunce sighd, Reproch did scold ; 
Reproch sharp stings, Repentaunce whips entwinde; 
Shame burning brond-yrons in her hand did hold : 
All three to each unlike, yet all made in one mould. 

TJie Faerie Qiceene. 

INSTEAD of awaiting the arrival of her 
brother and sister, Ruth left her room for 
the first time since her illness^ early in the day. 

' Sure^ miss/ said Sally, who_, after assisting 
at her toilette, withdrew a few paces in order 
to see the effect. ' Sure, miss, you had better 
keep on your white dressing-gown — the black 
makes you look whiter than ever.^ 

^ I must wear it, notwithstanding/ said 
Kuth, ^ as I am to receive visitors. Dr. Berke- 
ley is coming to see me to-day.^ 

' You don^t look so bad, either,^ said Sally, 
laying her broad hand on the soft, brown curls 



190 STILL WATERS. 

which clustered over Rutli^s head — all that re- 
mained of her long hair. ' It is these, I sup- 
pose, which reminds me of what you were as a 
young thing/ 

It was true, as Sally said, that Ruth had 
recovered a look of youth and freshness ; it 
might be partly owing to the short curls, which, 
though peculiar, were not unbecoming, but the 
transparent delicacy of her complexion had re- 
turned, and her features had lost their harassed, 
careworn expression. It was not only the 
delusion of a lover which inclined Dr. Berkeley 
to think her beauty more remarkable than it 
had been in the days of her girlhood, when she 
rose to greet him with a smile and a blush. 
He scarcely touched her extended hand, and, 
after a hurried and nervous inquiry after her 
health, he seemed unable to proceed. 

There was an awkward pause, and then 
Ruth spoke again, in a still, composed voice, 
which had the effect of restoring his self- 
possession. 

' It is very good of you to come, and you 
can guess why I was anxious to see you. At 
least, I feel sure that I did write, though all 
which happened just before my illness seems 
like a confused dream .^ 



STILL WATERS. 1 99 

' Yes, you wrote, and I called on the follow- 
ing day, to assure you that I would act on 
your letter; but you were too ill to see me/ 

' And so you did no more,^ said E-uth ; and 
an expression of disappointment, which she 
tried in vain to conceal, crept over her face. 

^ If I thought you could bear the agitation,^ 
said the Doctor, hesitating. 

Ruth looked up quickly. ' I can bear any- 
thing but suspense. Was I right in my con- 
jecture, and have you seen him, and done what 
you could to save him from immediate want V 

'1 did what I could,^ said Dr. Berkeley; 
' but he is now beyond the reach of earthly 
care. The passing-bell this morning was for 
Richard Clinton.^ 

^ It was he, then,' said Ruth, shivering ; and 
her voice sank almost to a whisper as she 
added, ^ Did he know anything of Jasper V 

' He has heard nothing of him since he left 
Holmdale ; but be satisfied, Ruth. On that day 
he saw him, and Jasper is now as clear in the 
sight of all men as he has ever been in your 
eyes.-' 

A gasping sob — a half-uttered expression of 
thankfulness, broke from Ruth, and she waited 
breathlessly for further explanation. 



200 STILL WATERS. 

' I did not think that you would be fit to hear 
of it to-day/ said Dr. Berkeley, ' and so I have 
not brought the declaration which was taken 
down from his lips, in my presence and that of 
Mr. Dunn. But I can tell you its purport. It 
seems that Eichard Clinton, after remaining 
for some time concealed in the colony, worked 
his way to England in one of the Sydney 
vessels. He came here in utter destitution, 
not aware that Mrs. Clinton was gone; and, 
in hopes of obtaining relief from her, he 
hung about the obscure parts of the town, not 
daring to show himself openly, lest he should 
be recognised. When he heard of Mrs. Clin- 
ton's departure, he naturally applied to Jasper ; 
and when he came to the Bed House that 
morning, and asked to see you alone, it must 
have been after his first inter\dew with his 
father.' 

' I understand/ said Buth, with white and 
quivering lips. 'No wonder he looked wild 
and strange. Yet surely he did not — he could 
not, even at his father's word, have given up 
the money.' 

' He did not. You know he asked Dunn 
for the salary due to him without an idea that 
he should have to draw this money of Sir 



STILL WATERS. 201 

Jolin^s ; but they Tvere in liis pocket-book to- 
gether^ since Clinton had urged npon him the 
necessity of recei^'ing immediate relief, -which 
might enable him to leave the town at once, so 
that Jasper did not like to lose time in going 
round by Dunnes house. Clinton caught sight 
of the gold and notes Tvhen his son drew out 
his own 2ol., and instantly resolved to possess 
himseK of it. He proposed that they should 
share alike^ and take a passage to America, 
■where they might make a fresh start in life. 
Desperate and unscrupulous, he had no hesita- 
tion in taking by force what Jasper indignantly 
refused to yield. He -wrenched the packet 
from the boy^s hand, -who struggled fiercely to 
regain it, until reminded that the noise of the 
scuffle would attract attention^ and that he 
-would then be the cause of his father^s capture. 
Jasper then tmmed jfrom him -without another 
word, and -with a look of fixed despair^ by which, 
the elder Clinton said, he had ever since been 
haunted.' 

^ And there they parted V said Ruth. 

^ Yes ; in that very garret-room where you 
found the father. He went to America,, but 
nothing prospered with him there ; and he was 
pursued by the image of the son whose life he 



£02 STILL WATERS. 

had blasted, though no other crime of his most 
unhappy life had awakened the pangs of re- 
morse. He returned, not so much in the hope 
of ascertaining Jasper^ s fate, as from a strange 
desire to see once more the place of their 
meeting, and there to die/ 

' And he is dead/ said Ruth, slowly. 

' God is merciful/ replied Dr. Berkeley, 
answering her thoughts rather than her words ; 
'^as soon as it appeared that I knew him, his 
confession was made, unsought by me, and the 
agony of his remorse was great. But truly 
such a death is fearful.' 

Buth could not dwell on the thought, and 
she reverted to Jasper. 

' If he could only know that he is clear .^ 

Dr. Berkeley could not forbear to shrink a 
little from this proof that Jasper was still 
Buth^s first thought, and he answered with 
some constraint — 

' I have done what I could, in putting adver- 
tisements in the papers, which may meet his 
eye. And when he learns that the truth is 

known, we may hope ' but the word choked 

him, and he changed the construction of the 
sentence — ' it is not impossible he may return.' 

' I was not thinking of that,' said Buth, 



STILL WATERS. 303 

quickly ; ' indeed, I do not know that I wish 
it. It would be a relief to know that his spirit 
was no longer crushed by that terrible feeling 
of dishonour ; but, after all, the disgrace is 
only transferred to his father, and he could 
never bear to meet the curious looks and 
officious sympathy of his old acquaintances 
here. By this time, I suppose, they all know 
the story ?' 

^ Not through me ; for I wished that you 
should hear it first. But I thought that Dunn 
ought to hear Jasper^s justification ; and though 
the declaration was only made yesterday, he 
lost no time in telling Sir John — and his wife. 
And to-day the story is circulating through 
the town.^ 

' Well,^ said Ruth, philosophically, ' at all 
events, the excitement will subside as soon, or 
sooner, than when they all called Jasper a mis- 
guided young man. It is strange — no, not 
strange, but true, how such an illness as I have 
had, reduces things to their true proportion.^ 

^ You did not need the lesson, Ruth.^ 

' No one needed it more,' she replied, ear- 
nestly ; ' I have been anxious and worried 
about so many things for others, as well as 
for myself, which do not really signify, or 



204 STILL WATERS. 

rather which all work for good. This last 
week has been a great rest^ a sort of landing- 
place, from which to look back on the journey 
we have travelled. I don't think I shall feel 
either pain or pleasui'e as strongly as I did ; 
life seems so short and so trifling.' 

' So all must feel who are brought near to 
death/ said Dr. Berkeley; ' but when we return 
to every-day duties the impression must fade. 
Perhaps it is better that it should.' 

^ Perhaps/ said Ruth ; ^ and it is easier to 
put away carefulness for oneself than for others. 
T cannot help being anxious about David, and 
I am sure that Isabel is not satisfied, though 
she tries to write cheerfully.' 

^ Lord Edward gives a better report of him ; 
and he hopes that his improvement will be 
more steady when he gets home, for his feverish 
impatience has been much against him.' 

' His mind will work still more when he is 
here,' said Ruth, with a sigh ; ^ it is very un- 
fortunate that the Gascoignes are here. But 
Lord Edward may be able to keep him in order ; 
it was very good of you to ask him.' 

* I was glad to be of use,' said the Doctor. 

' And now,' added Ruth, ' I ought to rest, 
that I may be fresh for the travellers. Thank 



STILL WATERS. 205 

YOU SO mucli for all you liaYe done^ and espe- 
cially for tliis Yisit ; it has been like one of our 
sober^ old-fashioned talks, and I hope you haYe 
enjoyed it as much as I haYe/ 

' Too much^ ^liss Lennox ; I belieYe that I 
ought to forego the enjoyment until I have 
schooled myself to prize it less/ 

And the Doctor hurried away, leading Ruth 
to lament that her hope of returning to their 
former easy friendship was still so far from its 
accomplishment. 

Ruth was not reserYing all her strength 
for the meeting with her brother and sister^ 
for she thought it expedient to haYe her first 
visit from Clara before theu' return, and she 
expected her to call that afternoon. Accord- 
ingly, as it was growing dusk, the sweep of a 
carriage round the comer was followed by the 
familiar sound of the spirited horses^ caracole, 
when checked in then- course ; and Clara pre- 
sently entered the room, her cheeks glowing 
with pleasant excitement, as much perhaps as 
with the freshness of the outer air. 

' How good of you to see me '/ she exclaimed, 
throwing her arms round Ruth. ^ That Cer- 
berus of yours has been so impracticable that 
I hai'dly Ycntured to ask for admittance, and 



2C6 STILL WATERS. 

she said 'Yes^ as meekly as possible. How 
charming you look ! only ill enough to be in- 
teresting, with those dear, quaint, little curls; 
I have half a mind to set up a fever too, in 
order to try the effect/ 

Ruth only smiled, and Clara rattled on — 

' You try to look stern, but it will not do ; 
you are not strong enough, and so you must 
be amiable for once in your life. I have so 
much to say that I hardly know where to 
begin. And first, tell me about Mr. Lennox/ 

^ He is rather better ; they are on their way 
home to-day, and I expect them in about an 
hour.' 

' By the five o'clock train ? Then the best 
plan will be to send the carriage to the station, 
and I can wait here till it comes back ; it will 
be smoother and more comfortable for Mr. 
Lennox.' 

Ruth declined the offer; she said that she 
had ordered a fly, which would do well enough, 
and she did not wish to keep Clara out so 
late. 

^ You think me a dangerous person,' said 
Clara, with an arch smile. 

' I have reason to think so,' Ruth answered, 
gravely. 



STILL WATERS. 207 

' Not noWj Ruth^ indeed. I confess tliat I did 
flirt a little^ the very least in the world_, with 
Mr. Lennox at the York gaieties^ but he might 
have known that it was only because I was 
piqued with Evelyn. That is all right now ; I 
have had the most charming letter, begging 
me to make papa more reasonable^ for he has 
been quite disagreeable about his debts^ as if 
young men were not always extravagant. He 
says that it is all nonsense about Miss Thoma- 
son, and he has sold out, and is to be in England 
this very night. He will come down here at 
once, and he wants me to fix the wedding-day. 
Now that I am sm'e he cares for me, I don^t 
mean to flirt with any one, so you see Mr. 
Lennox is quite safe.^ 

^ Eor the future,^ said Ruth ; ^ but you seem 
to forget that the past cannot be undone. How- 
ever, there is no use talking about it, only I 
wish you to keep away from the house while 
he is here.' 

^ I shall not want you so much when I have 
Evelyn,' replied Clara ; ' but I must see you 
now and then; and surely Mr. Lennox is able 
to take care of himself, now that he has fair 
warning that I mean to flirt no more. Now 
don't look so grave, Ruth; he will soon re- 



2o8 STILL WATERS. 

cover his disappointment. The Forlorn Hope 
is quite cured, and his complaint "«as of much 
longer standing/ 

' If you -svill talk so lightly, Clara, I would 
rather talk of something else/ 

' So we will. I have to comment on your own 
affairs, but Evelyn^s news put everything else 
out of my head ; I wish you joy of your hero. 
Mr. Dunn says that the whole town is ringing 
with his praises, and even his prosaic mind was 
excited by this eclair cissement. The best part 
of the story is !Mr. Clinton^s coming home to 
die so conveniently, for one would not feel easy 
as long as there was the contingency of such a 
beau pere tm-ning up at any moment.^ 

The mischievous remark did not call even a 
passing blush to Ruth^s cheek. She only said, 
though T\ith little hope of checking Clara^s 
levity — 

' If you had seen his face of remorse and 
misery, you could not talk thus of his death.^ 

^ So you reaUy saw him,^ said Clara, with 
eager interest. ^ Mr. Dunn said something 
about it, but I could not understand the 
story .^ 

' I found him in a cottage in my district,' 
said Pbuth, ^ and guessed who he was. But I 



STILL WATERS. 209 

would rather not talk about it^ for it is like a 
dream wliich haunted me all the while I was 
ill. Don^t you think you had better go home 
before it gets colder ?^ 

^ And you want to get rid of me before the 
arrival/ said Clara, rising. ' AYellj I will go ; 
and to please you I mean to ignore Mr. Len- 
nox's existence, and to make myself as dis- 
agreeable as possible when we meet. But I 
suppose I may send you some grapes as usual, 
and if you like to share them with him there 
is no harm done ; how long is he to stay V 

' I do not know ; I am afraid that he is very 
far from being fit for duty.' 

^ He will soon be well/ said Clara, confi- 
dently; 'perhaps Evelyn's appearance may act 
as a tonic. Good-bye, ma mie ; if yon had not 
driven me away, I meant to have helped you to 
compose an advertisement to ' Jasper/ for the 
second column of the Times. Your initials or 
mine would have a better efiect than the Doc- 
tor's.' 



VOL. II. 



2 TO STILL WATERS. 



CHAPTER XV. 

I only know I loved you once ; 

I only know I loved in vain : 
Our hands have met, but not our hearts ; 

Our hands will never meet again. 

Hood. 

' TTAYE you seen Miss Gascoigne, Rutli?' 
J-J- said David. He only waited to ask the 
question until Lord Edward had gone to the 
School-house, while Isabel went up-stairs to 
take off her bonnet. 

' Yes ; she was here this afternoon/ answered 
Kuth^ pausing for a moment before she felt 
sufficiently hard-hearted to dasb the hopes 
expressed by David's eager _, listening attitude, 
as he raised himself from the sofa on which he 
so wearily reclined. ^ She was in great spirits, 
for she heard from Captain Gascoigne that he 
will most likely be at Dyne Court to-morrow.' 

' He will, will he V — and the words escaped 
from David as if much of no pleasant import 
remained unsaid. He sank back on his pillows, 
and scarcely spoke again for the rest of the 



STILL WATEES. 211 

evening. He complained of headache^ and 
would eat no tea; but an impartial observer 
might have said that he was suffering as much 
from ill-humour as from ill-health. He evinced 
no interest in the conversation between the 
sisters, and even the account of Jasper's ex- 
culpation, and of Ruth's inter ^dew with the 
father, passed without comment. 

As they went up to bed, Isabel asked 
eagerly, ' Well, what do you think of him T 
and Ruth could only answer with a sigh, that 
she hoped he might be better on the morrow. 

Da^id said that he ivas better next morning. 
Ruth had consented to breakfast in her own 
room, and Isabel tried to persuade her brother 
to do the same; but he insisted on coming 
down-stairs. He declared that he felt fresh 
and well, only ravenously hungry ; but, after 
making Isabel hasten breakfast, he found fault 
with everything. And when Isabel bestirred 
herself to find something he could eat, he im- 
patiently pushed aside his plate. 

' There, that will do. I have had quite 
enough, and I shall go out in search of an 
appetite for dinner. It is a pity to lose the 
fine part of the day.' 

^It does not look fine now,' said Isabel, 
p 2 



2I2J STILL WATERS. 

glancing at the scrap of leaden sky visible 
between two blocks of chimneys. ' If we wait 
for an hour the sun may come out, and then 
we can take a turn below our own old south 
wall. I have a key of the garden-gate_, so that 
we need not encounter the Dunns.^ 

' I shall do no such thing/ said David. ' I 
am quite tilled of playing the invalid, and I 
shall go out for a ride. A good scamper over 
the country will freshen me, especially after 
sitting in this close room. You have made up 
such a fire that it is quite intolerable.^ He 
had complained of feeling chilly a moment 
before. 

^ But you have no horse, Da\id.^ 

' I can hire one, however. There is a 
very respectable hack at the Blue Boar^ which 
will carry me as far as I need to go.^ 

Isabel knew now where he was going, and 
she knew also that remonstrance would be in 
vain ; yet she made one more effort. 

^ Lord Edward will be here soon,^ she said, 
timidly, ^ and he will be able to tell us what 
sort of a day it is.^ 

^Very likely; he will tell us that the wind 
is from the east, that there has been frost, and 
that there will be rain. I don^t care for past. 



STILL WATERS. 21 3 

present^ or future, for I am weary of all this 
coddling/ 

*^At least_, wait till Ruth comes down/ 

'There is no use waiting. I shall see her 
when I come home/ And David snatched up 
his hat and gloves, impatiently rejected the 
additional neckerchief which his sister prof- 
fered, and departed. Isabel looked after him, 
as well as her tears would permit, and pondered 
with a swelling. heart on the change which the 
last few weeks had wrought. There was 
scarcely a trace remaining of his gay, courteous 
manner, softened into especial tenderness in his 
intercourse with his favourite sister. 

If any one but Lord Edward had surprised 
her in this fit of crying, she would have been 
a good deal discomposed ; but she was so en- 
tirely at her ease with him, that it was a relief 
rather than an effort to confide to him the 
cause of her unhappiness, not even withholding 
her suspicions that he had gone to Dyne 
Court. 

' He looked so feverish and ill,' she said ; 
^and if he gets wet, it must bring on his 
cough.' 

' I do not think it will rain,' said Lord 
Edward. He could think of nothing more 



214 STILL WATERS. 

consoling to say ; but there are times when we 
do not desire consolation, and this was IsabeFs 
present mood. 

^I meant/ she said, ^to be quite content 
when I got him safe home, especially as Ruth 
is so much better ; yet everything seems more 
cheerless than ever/ 

' ' Be still, sad heart, and cease repining/ ^ 
said Lord Edward, with a grave smile. 

There was no need to finish the quotation. 

^ I know,^ said Isabel, quickly, ' I am very 
ungrateful.' And she walked to the window 
to hide the gathering tears. 

Lord Edward presently followed her. 

' If you can tell me where to find a horse. 
Miss Lennox, I can ride after your brother and 
easily overtake him before he reaches Dyne 
Court. Then I may at least persuade him to 
return in good time.' 

^ Thank you,' said Isabel, colouring j ' it 
would be only painful to you.' 

^Not in the least,' said Lord Edward, de- 
cidedly. He never omitted the opportunity of 
bringing forward his entire indifference to Clara. 
^ But I am afraid that I have tutored Lennox 
until he is beginning to run restive.' 

* Yes j I believe it would do no good,' said 



STILL WATERS. 215 

Isabel^ remembering the irritation with which 
David had so lately spoken of Lord Edward's 
interference. ' Perhaps he may find out for 
himself how unfit he is for ridings and turn 
back/ 

Lord Edward acquiesced ; and since he could 
help Isabel in no other way, it seemed to him 
that he could not do better than pass the 
morning with her_, in hopes of beguiling her 
thoughts. 

In the meanwhile David took the nearest 
road to Dyne Court, mounted on the ' respect- 
able hack^ furnished by the Blue Boar. Isabel 
had not spoken too hardly of the day ; a chilling 
thaw had succeeded to the frost and snow of 
the preceding week, the roads were sodden, and 
the air damp and raw. David shivered, and 
wished for the rejected neckerchief ; and after 
urging his unwilling beast to a trot, he was 
unable to keep it up, on account of failure of 
breath, and renewed pain in his side. Before 
he reached Dyne Court the excitement of fever 
had given place to a languid depression, both 
of mind and body. He rode into the stables 
by the back entrance, and left his horse there, 
after ascertaining that Miss Gascoigne was at 
home. He had just reached the colonnade 



2l6 STILL WATERS. 

\^ lien his progress was arrested by the sound of 
Clara^s voice^ and he passed on from behind the 
column which intercepted his view of her com- 
panion. Clara was hanging on the arm of 
Evelyn Gascoigne^ her upturned face glowing 
with a bright and speaking happiness^ very 
different from the careless coquetry which he 
had vainly construed into an expression of 
equal or deeper feeling. 

David saw and acknowledged the difference, 
and at that moment the hope which he had so 
wilfully cherished, died within him, with a pang 
of such acute suffering as those only may com- 
prehend who have experienced the same. His 
first impulse was to turn and fly, his next to 
advance with an unflinching step; and this he 
did, but with a countenance so wild and haggard 
that Clara drew back in alarm, while Evelyn 
exclaimed — 

^ Good heavens, Lennox ! is that you ? You 
are the last person I expected to see.^ 

' I might say the same,^ rejoined David. 

' So I can believe,^ said Evelyn, with a mean- 
ing smile, which animated David with sufficient 
strength to have felled his rivaV to the ground, 
powerless as he had felt a moment before. 

Clara saAV the fierce lis'ht ffleamino^ in his 



STILL WATEES. 217 

eveSj and interposed witli the playful decision 
Tvliich was, even now, irresistible. 

' Now confess, Mr. Lennox, that you had not 
Ruth^s sanction to come so far the day after 
your journey ? You must go home at once.^ 

' I will go, since you desire it, Miss Gas- 
coigne. I came to see you, not aware that you 
were otherwise engaged.^ 

^ There is such a thing as wilful ignorance,^ 
Evelyn began, with some haughtiness ; but as 
David^s eyes again flashed fire, he changed his 
tone. He was successful, and success can afibrd 
to be magnanimous. ' You had better come 
into the house and rest, and Clara will order 
the carriage to take you home; you look 
miserably ill, and quite unfit to ride.^' 

^ Do come in, Mr. Lennox,^ said Clara, in a 
pleading tone, which seemed to sting him to 
madness. He turned upon her one glance of 
reproachful bitterness, and strode away. 

^ I will follow him, to see that he does not 
get into mischief,-' said Evelyn, after a mo- 
ment's pause. 

' No ; do not,' said Clara, clinging to him ; 
* you will only quarrel.' 

^ Foolish child !' said Evelyn ; *" do you think 
I cannot take care of myself?' He attempted 



21 8 STILL WATERS. 

to sliake her off, but sLe only clung tlie closer ; 
and, flattered by her anxiety, he sufiered David 
to go his own way, and they continued to pace 
the colonnade. 

^ So he is another of your victims/ he re- 
sumed, in a tone between jest and earnest ; 
'certainly it was high time for me to come 
home/ 

' If you had not stayed away so long,' re- 
joined Clara, ' I should have had nothing to do 
with him ; and he might have known me well 
enough to see that I never cared for him in 
the least/ 

' Then I am to understand that you gave 
him no encouragement for this fresh acces of 
love V 

Clara felt that her ground was not very 
defensible, so she attempted to carry the attack 
into the enemy's country. 

' I don't suppose that I flirted with him half 
so much as you did with Laura Thomason/ 

' Possibly not,' said Evelyn, coolly ; ' but I 
may do many things which are not expedient 
for you. If you choose to be the talk of the 
county as a notorious and heartless coquette, 
well and good ; only, it must not be as my afii- 
anced bride. So you may take your choice.' 



STILL WATERS. 31 9 

' Oh, Evelyn V 

'■ I am thorouglily in earnest. We have had 
enough of this intimacy with the Lennoxes ; 
and_, at all events_, \vhile David is at home I 
will not have you always running into Holm- 
dale to see the young ladies^ or on any pretext 
whatever. Do you understand V 

^ Yes/ Clara answered_, low and suhmissively. 

Truly that untamed spirit^ so impatient of 
the lightest check, had at last found its master. 



220 STILL WATERS. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

La vita fugge, e non s'arresta un'ora : 
E la morte vien dietro a gran giornate : 
E le cose present!, e le passate 
Mi danno giierra, e le future ancora. 

Peteaeca. 

ONE bright and balmy clay in March^ when 
the first breath of spring was laden with 
sweet fragrance, calling forth the song of the 
winter-thrush, and swelling the buds of the 
horse-chestnut, Ruth walked out of the town 
into one of the country roads ; and, as some- 
times before, she had not gone far before she 
was overtaken by the Dyne Court barouche. 
Nothing, however, roused her from her abstrac- 
tion until she was startled by Clara herself, 
who instantly alighted, and seized her hand in 
both of hers, as she exclaimed — 

' At last ! I have longed so much to see 
you, and I began to despair/ 

' It was good of you not to come,' said 
Ruth. 

* Nothing that you said kept me away, only 



STILL WATERS. 321 

— however^ I will tell you about it presently. 
Where are you going ?' 

^ To the hazel copse to look for primroses.^ 

^I will go with you. Please let me go/ 
Clara added, pleadingly ; ' you will not tell Mr. 
Lennox, and no one else will know.^ 

They had reached the footpath leading to 
the copse in question, and she scarcely waited 
for Ruth^s permission before she led the way 
over the stile, directing the carriage to drive 
on and wait for her at the turnpike. 

^ And now,^ she said, twining her arm round 
Ruth, ' tell me about your brother. I hardly 
dare ask at home, for both papa and Evelyn look 
reproachful, and answer as if it was my fault. 
I believe they make the worst of it on purpose 
to vex me ; or is he really so ill V 

^ He is very weak,^ said Euth ; ' he has never 
been out of his room, hardly out of bed, since 
that ride to Dyne Court six weeks ago.^ 

' You, too, Ruth ! it is not fair to cast up 
that ride against me, as if I had asked him to 
come.^ 

' I did not mean to blame you, Clara ; you 
best know what encouragement you gave him ; 
but at any rate that is at an end now, and 
though you disclaimed my thanks just now, I 



222 STILL WATERS. 

must repeat liow glad I am that you have kept 
aloof since that interview/ 

^ You must thank Evelyn/ said Clara ; ' it 
is his doing/ 

There was a touch of irony in her tone_, and 
Kuth answered gravely — 

' I think he is quite right/ 

' Oh_, perfectly right ; only you know that I 
am not used to be chidden and tutored like 
a naughty child, and I donH quite like it. 
Though T should not mind/ she added, while 
tears, which rarely dimmed the brightness of 
her beauty, started to her eyes, ' if I believed 
that he loved me ; but he does not care enough 
about me to be jealous ; he only thinks of the 
eyes of the world, and wishes me to act accord- 
ingly/ 

' Which you have forgotten now, or you 
would not talk so recklessly,^ said Ruth. 

^ It is only to you, Ruth ; and even Evelyn, 
little as he understands you, would not take 
your eyes for those of the world; besides, I 
must have my talk out now, for it is my last 
opportunity. You know we are to be married 
upon Lady-day ; and then I shall ^ love, honour, 
and obey,^ as in duty bound.^ 

^ Duty is a law you have never yet obeyed. 



STILL WATERS. 223 

Clara/ said Ruth^ but very gently. She was 
grieved by tbe excitement of Clara^s manner, 
which told how forced her spirits were. 

They entered the copse as she spoke; bnt 
Clara wonld not allow her to begin her search 
for primroses, and made her sit doAvn beside 
her on a fallen tree. She made no dii'ect reply 
to this last observation, but continued to con- 
fide her griefs. 

' It has been such a wearisome time, espe- 
cially since Aunt Eliza and the young ladies 
came. They always regarded me with virtuous 
horror; and Aunt Eliza does not like me any 
better for being her destined daughter-in-law, 
thinking, I imagine, that I corrupted Evelyn's 
morals. And I have had a hard time with 
papa, who has changed his mind about the 
marriage, and almost wanted to break it off 
when he learned what his debts were ; if the 
said debts were not rather pressing, I believe 
that Evelyn himself would have no objection. 
Then there has been so much to arrange ; ques- 
tions about the rooms, the wedding-breakfast, 
and the trousseau ; and I have been so worried 
at having to decide everything for myself, for 
there was no use asking papa, when he was put 
out already, and Evelyn takes no interest iu 



224 STILL WATERS. 

the matter. Oh, Euth ! I sometimes think 
that if mamma were alive, it would all be very 
different/ And the cheek which Clara pressed 
against Euth's was wet with tears. 

Euth had never before seen her in such a 

mood j and before she had determined how to 

treat it, Clara became impatient of her silence. 

^ Talk to me, Euth ; I want to be scolded, 

and petted into good-humour again.^ 

' If you really want advice ,' said E.uth, 

slowly. 

' I do really want advice, though I don^t 
engage to follow it.^ 

'Well, then, I think it would be better to 
follow Sir John^s wishes.^ 

' And give up Evelyn P said Clara, vehe- 
mently. ' Oh no ! it is too late now. Even 
papa would not like it, now that the wedding- 
day is fixed ; and, besides, I love him too well.^ 
' And yet you believe that he does not care 
for you.^ 

' Not as I do for him ; but still we shall get 
on very well. We understand each other, and 
I shall not expect too much ; and there is no 
one half so pleasant, you must allow that, 
Euth.^ 

' I do not know him welV said Euth, too 



STILL WATERS. 225 

much relieved to escape the responsibility Tvhich 
Clara had seemed disposed to thrust upon her, 
to wonder at the versatility of her humour. 

' 'Well, you shall know him some day, when 
INIr. Lennox is well, and all these disagreeables 
forgotten. And, by the way, tell me about 
Isabel. Evelyn said that they met accidentally 
the other day ; that he at all events need have 
nothing on his conscience, since she looked 
more beautiful than ever — am I not magnani- 
mous to repeat the compliment ? — and perfectly 
cool and unconcerned.^ 

Ruth had heard nothing of this meeting, 
and she could not think that IsabePs silence 
respecting it arose from the indifference ascribed 
to her. She felt indignant, and it cost her an 
effort to answer calmly. 

' Perhaps it was well for Isabel that her 
troubles did not come alone, and that she is 
too much absorbed in David^s illness to tliink 
of herself. She is very good and reasonable, 
however, in taking regular exercise, and I 
should like to gather my primroses, and get 
back before it is too late for her to go out.^ 

'^Not just yet,^ said Clara, detaining her. 
^ I have one or two more thinsjs to ask. 
^Aliat has been the result of the Doctor^s 

VOL. II. Q 



2 26 STILL WATERS. 

advertisement ? I don^t know if there lias 
been time to hear from California/ 

' I told yon/ said Rath_, ' that I did not 
expect Jasper to answer the advertisement, 
even though he may be mnch nearer than 
California/ 

^Then, perhaps^ yon have left off caring 
abont it. For you look stronger than you 
used to do, and prettier, though you have put 
away those bewitching little curls. I am quite 
sorry that your hair has begun to grow 
already/ 

^Really, Clara/ said Knth, impatientty, Mf 
you have nothing more important to sa}^ you 
may let me go.^ 

' Indeed, I have something very important 
to say. Is it true that Lord Edward was 
here for three weeks, that he is coming back 
again, and that he is a Forlorn Hope no 
longer ?' 

' The Doctor asked him to spend the Easter 
vacation with him. I am not certain whether 
he is coming or no.' 

^ That is a meagre answer, Ruth ; and you 
blushed — you positively did. You cannot pre- 
tend that the Doctor is his only attraction. 
I congratulate you, and I am sorry that I did 



STILL WATERS. 227 

not make him over to you long ago, as I had 
some thoughts of doing. I ahvays thought 
that YOU would suit each other, though the 
combination may be too serious for the rest of 
the world. And Lady Edward is such a pretty 
title.' 

Ruth looked annoyed, and answered shortly, 
' How can you talk so absurdly ? — there never 
was anything more unfounded.' 

' Then you are constant to the gold-digger ? 
It is too hard that Lord Edward should be 
disappointed again.' 

' There is no disappointment in the case. 
Lord Edward thinks as little of me as I do of 
him.' 

^ Then, does he think of any one else ? — 
Surely, it cannot be Isabel ! Ah, I see by 
yom' face that I have guessed right,' 

^ And so you may go home to spread the 
idle report,' said Ruth, as she arose from her 
seat ; ' and you can leave me to gather prim- 
roses alone.' 

' No, Ruth,' said Clara, hanging round her ; 
' we must not part so. I will go if you like, 
but not till you have promised to remember 
me sometimes.' 

' I am not likely to forget,' said Ruth. 

Q 2 



228 STILL WATERS. 

' You mean to remember in how many ways 
I have teased and thwarted you/ 

' No, I do not, Clara — at least I shall think 
how we have contrived to love each other 
through it all/ 

' That is so like you, Ruth, and so dear. 
And only one thing more. It is not my fault 
if the Holm dale bells ring a peal on Lady-day. 
I wanted to say that we did not wish it ; but 
he said that would be particular and absurd. 
And so I tell you, that you may not think me 
more unfeeling than I really am. Good-bye, 
dear, dearest Ruth V 

' Good-bye,^ said Ruth, gently unclasping 
the entwining arms which locked her in Clara^s 
fast embrace. As Clara slowly turned away, 
she watched the slight, girlish figure with sad 
forebodings, and thought how, in the attain- 
ment of her cherished hope, its bright promise 
had crumbled into ashes. She knew Clara well 
enough to fear that she would only seek to 
still the cravings of an aching and disappointed 
heart with the husks which do not satisfy, and 
all which remained true and lovable in her 
nature must soon be frittered away. 

But Ruth remembered that she had come to 
gather primroses, and not to moralize, and she 



STILL WATERS. 229 

set about the searcli in earnest. She was 
tolerably successful ; and she considered herself 
well rewarded by the brightening smile with 
which David took the bunch from her hand, 
and said that it was fresh and sweet. 

'He looks better this afternoon/ said Isabel, 
who was working at the foot of the couch ; and 
the tone in which the he was spoken, justified 
Ruth's assertion that all her sister's earthly 
hopes and fears were centered in that sick 
room, 

A return of inflammation of the lungs had 
been the consequence of David's imprudent 
ride to Dyne Court; and though the more 
alarming symptoms had passed away, great 
prostration of strength remained, together with 
so much languor and depression, that it seemed 
as if the mind and body reacted on each other, 
and he wanted energy to be well. His doctor 
urged him to leave Holmdale, and seek some 
warmer climate, as soon as he was fit to travel ; 
but that time had not arrived. He could 
not be induced to leave his room, or to see 
any one but his sisters ; and though listening 
to their conversation with a languid interest, 
he seldom exerted himself to join in it. Mr. 
Ball directed that he should be roused as much 



230 STILL WATERS. 

as possible ; and the sisters learned to talk over 
the small events of the day with an assumed 
animation which it was often difficult enough 
to sustain. This afternoon^ however, Ruth 
could not impart to him the incident of her 
walk_, and the pauses between disjointed re- 
marks on the early spring, the westerly wind, 
and the new paving of Bean-street, became 
longer and longer, until silence reigned al- 
together. 

Isabel spoke again to say that she must go 
out, and as a matter of duty the exertion was 
made. She put on her bonnet and cloak with 
all speed, and timed herself so as to be back 
within the hour prescribed as necessary for air 
and exercise. Every minute passed out of 
David^s room seemed to her so much waste of 
life. 

When there was no third person to mark 
the effect of her words, E-uth acted on her im- 
pulse to tell of her walk with Clara, feeling 
that if it was expedient to rouse him from his 
languor, nothing was likely to do so more effec- 
tually. Accordingly she began, in a voice as 
calm and steady as if it was a matter of un- 
concern to both — 



STILL WATERS. 23 r 

'^The Gascoigne marriage is fixed for Lady- 
day.' 

' TVho told you V said Da^4d, shading his 
eyes with his hand, as if the light was too 
strong for him. So at least Ruth chose to in- 
terpret the gesture, and she rose and di*ew 
down the blind. 

^ Clara herself. I saw her to-day for the 
first time.' 

' And how was she looking V 

' Xot so bright as usual ; and there is some- 
thing touching, poor child, in the way she 
seems to feel the want of a mother at this 
time. I never heard her allude to it before. 
She asked after you.' 

' She did ?' There was a nervous action of 
the hands which David had clasped across his 
temples ; and then he added, querulously, 
^ There was no use telling me the day, Ruth. 
I would rather not have known it.' 

' Then I am sorry I told you,' she replied ; 
•^ but I thought you might find it easier to 
bear things which you know to be inevitable.' 

' That is so like one of your refinements — 
as if I had the option of bearing them or 
not.' 



233 STILL WATERS. 

' About the way of bearing them_, tlien^ 
David/ 

^ It is all the same thing/ He was silent 
for some moments^ and then resumed — ' I 
wonder if I shall be well enough to leave this 
place before the 25th/ 

This was the first time that David had con- 
templated the possibility of mo^dng, and Ruth 
thought it a good sign. 

' Perhaps you may/ she said, ^ if you gather 
strengtli as fast as I did when I began to 
mend/ 

' You may well say if. For now it seems 
that I lose, rather than gain ground. What 
does Ball tell you ? More, I imagine, than that 
I am getting on as well as I can expect/ 

Ruth was again pleased with the awakening 
energy which prompted the question, and she 
thought it best to give the doctor's opinion 
without reserve. 

' He is not satisfied/ she said ; ^ he feels that 
you have made no decided rally from your 
illness.' 

' He think me in a bad way/ said David, 
with a short laugh. ^ Well, I have not found 
life so pleasant that I care greatly about pro- 
longing it, and I shall not be much missed/ 



STILL WATERS. 233 

' You would not say so^ if you thought of 
Isabel, David/ Ruth would not speak, and, 
indeed, she scarcely thought, of herself. 

' Isabel will care. I understand her wistful 
looks now, poor child. And how long does 
he give me?' 

' Oh, David, how can you speak so lightly ? 
I have longed so much in all this illness to 
see your thoughts turned towards Him ' Who 
bringeth down to the grave, and raiseth up.^ ' 

' It is easy for you, Ruth,^ David answered, 
hastily ; ^ for you have thought of nothing else. 
But when a man's life has been taken up with 
such a vision as mine, and then with the ruin 
and disappointment which followed, he wall be 
haunted by such cares to the end. You can 
bear witness that I was more moved to hear 
of Clara's wedding-day than that I was dying.' 

' Because,' said Ruth, ^ you do not certainly 
know that you are dying, no more do I. I 
told you honestly of our anxiety; not that you 
might make light of it, but to prepare you for 
what may be, and to rouse you to use all means 
of recovery. Mr. Ball has said repeatedly 
that the symptom he likes least, is your list- 
lessness and indifference about yourself 

^ I am indifferent/ said David, briefly. 



234 STILL WATEES. 

' Xot really ; you "^ill not find it so when 
death is near. The most holy and the most 
unhappy shrink alike from anticipating that 
hour/ 

' Not if they have nothing left to live for/ 

^ We all live that we may learn to die/ re- 
plied Ruth. 

David looked up quickly. 

^ You think me thcD so bad^ Ruth V 

' I only mean that we can none of us feel 
that we are ready, until God calls us. And, 
dear David, you will not say again that you 
have nothing to live for when you think that 
you are all which is left to us — to poor Isabel, 
whose spirits are already so broken.^ 

'I am a useless and unsatisfactory posses- 
sion,^ said David ; but the words were not 
spoken in the same sullen tone as before. 
Ruth thought it best not to prolong the con- 
versation. She gave him one long and tender 
kiss, and left the room. 



STILL WATERS. 235 



CHAPTER XVII. 

What does not man grieve down ? From tlie highest, 
As from the vilest thing of every day, 
He learns to wean himself; for the strong hours 
Conquer him. 

Coleridge's Wallenstein. 

nnHAT conversation bore fruits. With all 
-■- his professed weariness of life, David was 
startled to think that death might be near, as 
well as by E.utVs warning, spoken with such 
loving courage, that he was not prepared to 
meet it. And as no one, checked in the full 
tide of youth and vigour, requires to be con- 
vinced by many arguments that life is a gift 
worth retaining, his professed indifference 
passed away, and Isabel herself did not mark 
his progress towards recovery with greater 
anxiety. And progress was made ; very gradual, 
and in some measui'e retarded by this very 
anxiety, since he was unduly depressed by an 
occasional return of fever or failure of appe- 
tite ; still he regained strength, Mr. Ball ceased 
to speak despondingly, and hope lighted up 



235 STILL WATERS. 

IsabePs eyes once more. The change in 
David's manner was cause enough for satis- 
faction ; instead of passively submitting to his 
sisters' unwearied attendance^ he seemed really 
to enjoy having them with him^ and he treated 
Isabel with something of his former playful 
tenderness. Kuth was not content only, but 
thankful, to take the second place, and to feel 
that her companionship was only needed when 
Isabel was not at hand ; for she knew that such 
intercourse as they now enjoyed was best both 
for her brother and sister, and she could re- 
joice in their joy. 

So the days went on to Lady-day, and 
David, though still too weak to leave the 
house, had made the important step of coming 
down-stairs. He had not made his appearance, 
however, when the church-bells rang out a 
merry peal ; and as the clang fell on Isabel's 
ear, she felt so much on his account that she 
never for a moment thought of herself She 
looked up anxiously when he entered ; he was 
pale from the exertion of dressing, but other- 
wise much as usual, and going towards him, 
she slipped her hand within his. 

' So that is the wedding-peal,' David said, 
walking to the window with the slow, cautious 



STILL WATERS. 237 

step which betrays weakness. ^ Will they come 
through Holmdale T 

^ I don't know where they are going/ re- 
joined Isabel. 

David looked up to the blue sky. ' She was 
so sure to have a bright day.' 

^ It is too bright to last.' 

' That sounds ominous, Isabel.' 

^ I did not mean it/ she answered, hastily. 

' And, after all, you have as much right to 
rue the day as I. Shall we be magnanimous, 
and wish them joy ?' 

^ Them, and myself too, if you please,' said 
Isabel, with the proud flashing glance ever 
caUed forth by any allusion to Evelyn Gas- 
coigne. 

^I am not so strong-minded,' said David, 
with something between a smile and a sigh; 
^though, perhaps, in time I may be able to 
see that things are better as they are. We 
must return to the old days, when we dreamed 
of being all in all to each other.' 

' Those were happy days, David.' 

'Then you are satisfied to spend your life 
with a cross-grained bachelor-brother ?' 

^ More than satisfied,' Isabel answered, cling- 
ing closer to his side. She little dreamed how 



238 STILL WATERS. 

soon her professions were to be put to the 
test. 

At this moment Lord Edward quite unex- 
pectedly walked in. 

^ Have you come down express from Lon- 
don to attend the wedding V David asked. He 
was in a mood when it was easier to make 
jesting allusions to the subject than to be 
altogether silent. 

*" Happily,, I was not invited/ said Lord 
Edward. 

' Then you wonld have thought it necessary 
to go, to prove your equanimity V 

' Or my indifiPerence/ said Lord Edward, 
carelessly. ' I was only glad to escape, be- 
cause a wedding is always a tiresome affair.^ 

^ But yon have not told us what brought 
you here/ said Isabel. 

^ Cannot you take it for granted that I have 
come to see you and Lennox ? He looks much 
better than I expected, and does more credit 
to your nursing than he did to mine.^ 

' Does he not look well V said Isabel, com- 
placently ; ^ and he is such an excellent patient/ 

^ Because Isabel is such an amiable nurse/ 
said David ; ^ not near so aggravating as you 



STILL WATERS. 239 

^But you have not yet told us/ persisted 
Isabel, ^ what brings you here so soon. Has 
the House adjourned already?^ 

' No ; but the bill in which I was interested 
has passed through committee, and I was tired 
of London. The Doctor told me that I might 
come back whenever I pleased, and I have taken 
him at his word. Where is Miss Lennox V 

' Not at the wedding,' said David. ' You 
looked almost afraid to ask. I suppose she is 
up-stairs, busy about some household matters.' 

' Then I shall wait till she comes down. 
The Doctor wdll be in school, so there is no 
use going on there at present.' 

* No, he will not,' said Isabel, quickly. ' Sir 
John asked for a holiday.' 

^ Sit down, however,' said Da^dd, ' and tell 
me the news. I want to be amused.' And 
Lord Edward waited for no second invitation. 

' I want to hear your news first,' he said. 
' Is it true that you are going abroad ?' 

' Yes ', at least, if I get the additional sick- 
leave for which I have applied. We are to 
break up our establishment here, and all go 
together, to Germany and Switzerland.' 

' Will it not be pleasant V said Isabel. ' We 
had some difficulty in persuading Euth to agree 



240 STILL WATEES. 

to the plan, for she wanted me to go and take 
care of David ; but we would not hear of her 
being left behind; and^ when once she is up- 
rooted^ I dare say she will enjoy it. Oh ! I 
hope it is not wrong to be as glad as I am to 
leave Holmdale/ 

^ I don't wonder you are glad/ said Lord 
Edward ; but he did not appear to share her 
satisfaction. ^ How long are you to be away V 
he added. 

' Nothing is settled/ said David ; ^ but if 
my regiment is, as I hear, to be moved to 
Malta, I want my sisters to go on with me to 
winter there. Since they have no ties to Eng- 
land, they may as well see a little of the world.' 

^Are you looking forward to next winter 
already ?' 

' Why, my dear Lynmere,' said David, laugh- 
ing, ^ you forget what it is to have the cares of 
a family — you who live in chambers and keep 
a servant who does not even allow you to decide 
what waistcoat you will wear. Since I have 
been well enough to think of moving, we have 
talked of nothing but the household arrange- 
ments, which make it necessary to determine 
how long my sisters are likely to be away.' 

*As you say,' rejoined Lord Edward, ' I can- 



STILL WATEES. 24 1 

not enter into these details. I suppose_, Miss 
Lennox, that you have been too much occupied 
by them to take any interest in politics/ 

' No, indeed/ said Isabel. ^ I made a point 
of reading all the debates in which your name 
appeared. Did I not_, David ?^ 

' So sedulously/ answered her brother, ^ that 
I was a little afraid of her becoming a female 
politician/ 

' There is no danger/ said Lord Edward ; 
' she is not the stuff of which they are made. 
I hope, Miss Lennox, that we coincide in 
opinion.^ 

' Not always,^ said Isabel ; ^ however, I liked 
to read your views, for there is an air of reality 
about the speech of a person one knows.' 

Ruth came in, and Lord Edward stayed talk- 
ing imtil dinner was announced ; and his ready 
assent to David's imitation to partake of it 
did not evince his usual consideration for the 
Doctor, who was prepared to receive his guest 
by the arrival of his portmanteaUj. and sat 
waiting for him at home. They were in the 
act of crossing the passage into the little 
dining-room, when Sally opened the house- 
door, and a voice, familiar enough to all but 
Ruth, inquired for Mr. Lennox. 

VOL. II. B. 



242 STILL WATERS. 

^ Oh^ Raeburn, is that you V said David. 
^ Wori^t you come in ?^ 

^ May I ?' he replied^ talking into the pas- 
sage without waiting for a reply. 

^ Ruth^ Lord Raeburn/ continued David. 
' You know Isabel, I think .^ And Lord Rae- 
burn turned towards her with a smile of de- 
lighted recognition. Isabel shook hands com- 
posedly, while her thoughts travelled back to 
the time and place where she had last seen 
him — in the colonnade at Dyne Court. 

^ We were just going in to our early dinner/ 
said Ruth ; ' will you have any luncheon ?' 

' I shall be very happy ; a wedding is always 
a hungry affair, and I shirked the breakfast 
on the plea of important business, which was 
nothing else than to call and ask after you, 
Lennox.^ 

' I am much honoured,^ said David. ' So 
you have come from the wedding ; how did it 
go off V 

' Oh, very well,^ said Lord Raeburn, draw- 
ing in a chair; and to Isabels great indigna- 
tion selecting the best slice of the boiled 
chicken, which was to be David^s dinner. ' It 
was rather heavy, as a wedding is apt to be, 
except to the principals; and they did not ap- 



STILL WATERS. 243 

pear to enjoy it particularly. Gascoigne looked 
as mucli bored as was consistent with good 
breeding, mnch more so than was consistent 
with his good luck. Clara was nervous, though 
I thought she had brass enough for anything.^ 

*" Did she — was she looking well V said 
David. 

' Xerj pretty^ of course ; she could not well 
look otherwise; and she is generally so much 
overdressed that the simple white was more 
than usually becoming ; but I do not care for 
that style of beauty.^ And he glanced signi- 
ficantly towards Isabel, who haughtily turned 
her head aside to speak to Lord Edward. 

With rather perverse self-torture_, Da^id de- 
manded further particulars of the wedding ; and 
when it appeared that Lord Raeburn had little 
more to tell, he subsided into silence, and left 
to others the task of entertaining his visitor. 
Lord Raeburn was disposed to devote himself 
to Isabel^ but he was baffled by her brief and 
distant replies; and he presently took leave, 
deciding that all her beauty did not atone for 
the haughty disdain which made it impossible 
to get up even a passing flirtation. 

' Such a conceited, assuming fellow,' said 
Lord Edward, before the door was fairly closed. 

R 2 



244 STILL WATERS. 

^ I never saw anything so cool as tlie way he 
invited himself to luncheon ; I heard your ser- 
vant tell him that you were just going in to 
dinner/ 

' Why, really, Lynmere/ said David, amused 
by his unwonted vehemence, ^ I may remark, 
without meaning anything uncivil, you and 
Raeburn stand on much the same footing, as 
far as luncheon is concerned/ 

' Oh no, David,^ said Isabel ; ^ Lord Edward 
is quite different/ 

^ Thank you,^ he said, turning quickly round ; 
^ would you mind explaining the distinction V 

* It is not fair to ask for a compliment,^ said 
Isabel, colouring ; ' you know that I don^t like 
Lord Kaeburn/ 

' From which we are to infer whom you do 
like,^ said David. ' Lynmere ought to cry 
^ hear, hear V and certainly that information was 
gratuitous, for, if we did not know it before, 
your manner made it sufficiently evident that 
he is no favourite. You were very ungracious.' 

As soon as dinner was over, Ruth went to 
put on her bonnet, for she had resumed her 
work in the Netherton, though on a more 
moderate scale. Lord Edward asked permis- 
sion to accompany her there on liis way to the 



STILL WATERS. 245 

Scliool-house ; and thougli it ^as exactly out of 
the way, Ruth made no objection^ and they set 
out together. 

' I wanted to explain/ he said, with startling 
abruptness, before they had gone many paces, 
' what has brought me again so soon. Your 
sister ' 

' Yes/ said Ruth, with a smile. 

' And you wish me success V 

' I do.' 

' Thank you.' And the eagerness with which 
Lord Edward clasped her hand expressed even 
more than his words. 

' But/ continued Ruth, ^ I am sure that you 
will only distress and startle Isabel if you speak 
to her now.' 

^ You mean that she does not care for me/ 
Lord Edward said, with a look of deep morti- 
fication. 

' I think — I know that she likes you as a 
friend; indeed, she told you so herself five 
minutes ago. But if there is any deeper feel- 
ing, she herself is not conscious of it.' 

' That is true. I felt myself that she could 
not have spoken -y^dth such perfect ease, if she 
had given me the love for which I crave. But 
when she hears my sentiments ' 



24-6 STILL WATEKS. 

Ruth shook her lieacl_, and again advised 
delay. 

' I might wait/ said Lord Edward, ' if you 
were to remain here ; but since you are going 
abroad for months, perhaps for years, I feel 
that it is better to know my fate at once. No 
one can see without admiring her.^ 

' Isabers head will not be turned by mere 
admiration, of which she was the object just 
now; it is simply distasteful to her.^ 

^ I know ; it was the absence of self-con- 
sciousness and personal vanity which first at- 
tracted me, so different from others I have 
known. But that may not prevent her affec- 
tions being engaged by another more fortunate 
than I, if we part without an explanation. In 
short, I cannot bear suspense.' 

And all Ruth's prudent warnings were of no 
avail. Lord Edward was as ardent, possibly a 
more unreasonable lover, than if he had been 
ten years younger. Ruth could only repeat 
her wishes for his success, and listen to his 
animated praises of Isabel's graces, both of 
mind and person. 



STILL WATEES. 247 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

So selten ist es, dass die Menschen finden 
Was ihnen doch bestimmt gewesen schieu, 
So selten, dass sie das erhalten, was 
Auch einmal die begliickte Hand ergriff ! 
Es reisst sich los, was wir begierig fassten. 
Es giebt ein Gliick, allein wir kennen's niclit : 
Wir kennen's wobl, und wissen's nicht zu scliatzen, 

Goethe. 

''/^H, Ruth/ said Isabel, opening the door 
^^ of her sister's room in haste, and care- 
fully closing it before she finished her sentence, 
— ' Oh, Ruth ! do you know what Lord Edward 
has done V 

' He told me yesterday what he was going 
to do,' said Ruth. 

^ It was only yesterday that I had the 
faintest suspicion, and then I thought it must 
be fancy/ 

^ But though I know what Lord Edward 
was to ask, Isabel, I have not heard your 
answer.' 

' No, thank you, of course.' 

' And why of course ?' said Ruth, gently. 



248 STILL WATERS. 

^ Oh, Kutli ! as if I could ever love again V 

Ruth was not disposed to argue the propriety 
of first and only love, and she merely said — 

'I am sorry for Lord Edward/ 

' So am I. When he began, it made me so 
hot and uncomfortable, that I nearly asked him 
to stop, for fear I should say ' Yes^ by mistake. 
I admired so much the way he bore his disap- 
pointment about Clara, thinking that he con- 
quered his love only because he thought it 
right, and then we never can forget the way 
he nursed David. So that, altogether, I liked 
him exceedingly, and I hoped that we should 
always be friends.^ 

Admiration, gratitude, and friendship ; since 
Isabel acknowledged these sentiments, Ruth 
regretted more than ever that Lord Edward^s 
precipitation should have prevented their ripen- 
ing into love. 

' Such friendship is not quite compatible 
with youth and beauty,' she observed. 

'But you do not think that I trifled with 
him,' said Isabel, anxiously. ' Lord Edward 
himself said that I gave him no encourage- 
ment.' 

' No ; I did not give him any hope,' said 
Ruth, ' and he was not sanguine of success.' 



STILL TVATERS. 249 

' I hope that he will not mind much/ said 
Isabel J ^ only think how long, and how hope- 
lessly, he loved Clara/ 

' I am afraid/ replied her sister, ' that only 
proves of what enduring sentiments he is 
capable/ 

^ I am glad you do not plead his cause, how- 
ever,^ said Isabel, after a pause; 'it would be 
easy to say that he is more worthy than — than 
Captain Gascoigne ; I do not mean to deny it. 
But that does not make it less impossible ever 
to think of another in the same way/ 

' I understand what you mean, dear,^ said 
Ruth, tenderly ; ' but it is only painful and 
harassing to rake up the past/ 

' And, besides,^ continued Isabel, ' I would 
not leave David, even if I liked him better. 
He is as little likely to forget as I am, and we 
have agreed to live for each other. But you 
look as if you did not believe me.^ 

'I do not mean to be incredulous,^ said 
Ruth, suppressing the smile which had called 
forth the accusation, ' but you must remember 
that David is not four-and-twenty ; so do not 
think his inconstancy quite unparalleled if he 
falls in and out of love again before the year 
goes round.^ 



250 STILL WATERS. 

David himself, when he heard of the pro- 
posal, was not disposed to accept such a 
sacrifice from sisterly affection. He liked the 
idea of the marriage, and tried to persuade 
Isabel that she had not known her own mind. 
And when she persisted in her decision, he 
deplored her taste, observing, that he always 
thought Lynmere a much finer fellow than the 
Captain. 

Lord Edward returned to his parliamentary 
duties on the same day, and this flying visit 
served as a matter of speculation in Holmdale. 
AYith habitual courtesy, he had left a card on 
Miss Perrott, and she considered that the 
attention entitled her to ascertain the truth ; 
so she set forth next morning to call in Bean- 
street, and she found Ruth alone, which was in 
favour of her researches. 

' So Lord Edward is gone again,^ she said ; 
'I was quite disappointed to miss him when 
he called yesterday morning ; and then I met 
the Doctor, who said that I should be sure to 
see him again, as he was to be here for some 
days.^ 

^ He did not tell us how long he was to 
stay,^ said Ruth ; ^ and Parliament is still sit- 
ting.' 



STILL WATERS. 2^1 

^ Tlien perhaps lie is coming back again T 

Ruth said that she believed not. 

'^ People do say/ continued Miss Perrott, 
^ that he had some object in this second visit. 
He has seen more of Isabel^, otherwise I should 
be inclined to think that it was you_, for you 
are much better suited to him.^ 

^ You have become an inveterate match- 
maker. Miss Perrott/ said Ruth, with a smile. 

^ Well, my dear, I don^t deny that people 
like you or I may be very happy in single life ; 
but it is a different kind of happiness, and I 
don^t think it would suit Isabel. I should be 
really provoked to think that she has thrown 
over Lord Edward for the sake of that worth- 
less Captain Gascoigne; and, indeed, it would 
not be quite right, now that he is fairly mar- 
ried to some one else.' 

' Isabel has time enough before her,' said 
Ruth ; ' and at present she is quite satisfied in 
having David to live for and to love.' 

' That is all very well,' said Miss Perrott, 
with a knowing shake of the head ; ' but young 
people will look for something else.' 

'^ But we need not look for them,' said Ruth. 
^ Do you know that you have not asked after 
David?' 



252 STILL WATERS. 

^Because I heard all about him from Mr. 
Ball on my way here. He says that he is going 
on charmingly, and will be quite able to move 
in three or four weeks. I could not help be- 
moaning your departure with the Doctor the 
other day; we agreed that we should miss 
you sadly; but it is hardest on me, for you see 
so little of him now. And you will find some 
gayer place to settle in, and never come back 
to your old home and friends.' 

' I do not expect to like any other place so 
well/ said Ruth. 

The words had scarcely passed her lips when 
Dr. Berkeley entered the room. He was, as 
INIiss Perrott observed, an unwonted visitor, 
and there was now so much constraint in their 
intercourse that the presence of a third person 
was a relief both to him and Buth. But as 
her rheumatism did not permit Miss Perrott to 
be out after three o'clock, she soon took leave, 
and they were left together. 

^ You were talking of leaving Holmdale when 
I came in,' said Dr. Berkeley. 

' Yes ; we begin to feel unsettled now. We 
have bought a Murray and a map, and Isabel 
pores over them all day.' 

^ And you are really sorry to go ?' 



STILL WATERS. 253 

' Yes/ Rutli answered^ in an unsteady voice ; 
' tlie otlier two say that it shows great want of 
enterprise^ and I mean to enjoy seeing the 
world as much as I can. But I have suiFered 
too much in this place to leave it willingly; 
it is almost like parting with mamma over 
again/ 

' Yet when the parting is over you may find 
life less bm'densome. I know/ Dr. Berkeley 
added, nervously, ^how much I have added to 
your cares here.' 

*■ But by my fault/ said Ruth ; ' and for 
that I shall reproach myself as much when I 
am far away as I do now.' 

^ You need not do so. When you are gone, 
I shall soon learn to think of you as you wish, 
and we may be friends once more. You will 
let me write to you sometimes to tell you the 
Holmdale news, and also if I have any tidings 
of Jasper.' 

Buth's thanks were too heartfelt to be 
spoken, and she started another subject — 

^ Did Lord Edward confide to you the cause 
of his departure ? I tried to bafile Miss Per- 
rott's curiosity ; but you have a right to know, 
in vii'tue of your guardianship.' 

^ He said something not very coherent, from 



:^H STILL TVATEES. 

which I concluded that Isabel had refused 
him/ 

' Yes : it was his own fault for asking her 
too soon. If he had only waited.' 

' Perhaps if he will ask again it may come 
to the same thing,' said the Doctor, a Httle 
diyly. 

Ruth smiled, and said that she had not the 
assurance to ask him to come to !Malta on 
Mhat miiiht be onlv a bootless errand. 



STILL WATEES. 255 



CHAPTER XIX. 

days and hours, your work is this, 
To hold me from my proper place, 
A little while from his embrace, 

For fuller gain of after bliss ! 

That out of distance might ensue 
Desire of nearness doubly sweet ; 
And unto meeting, when we meet. 

Delight a hundredfold accrue. 

In Memoriam. 

TT was longer than Mr. Ball had anticipated 
-*- before David's strength was so far restored 
as to admit of their leaving Holmdale. On 
May-day their departure took place; and though 
Isabel had anticipated the time with impati- 
ence^ she found the process of leave-taking so 
little exhilarating^ that she broke down alto- 
gether when the moment came for shaking 
hands with Sally ; and she threw herself back 
in the carriage which was to convey them to 
the station^ in order to indulge in a hearty fit 
of crying. Ptuth^ on the contrary^ sat forward^ 
pale and tearless^ that she might look her last 



255 STILL WATERS. 

at each familiar object^ and most longingly at 
the aUey of limes, now in aU their freshness, 
which shaded the church pathway. Although 
David could enter into his sister's feelings, his 
sigh was simply one of relief when they left 
the last house behind them. He was glad to 
turn over a page on which he could dwell with 
little satisfaction; and craving for change of 
thought and scene is almost inseparable from 
the variable and depressing nature of his illness. 

' People all seemed so sorry to lose us,' 
Isabel said, when she had recovered her voice, 
' that I felt I had been unfeeling in wishing to 
go ; and now I can only justify it by believing 
that they were only sorry on your account, 
Ruth. No one will mind getting rid of me.^ 

^ At least,' said Ruth, ' you must take Sir 
John's farewell visit entirely as an attention to 
you. You were always his favourite.' 

' Sir John's visit was almost more touching 
than any,^ said Isabel ; ' he looked so forlorn, 
as if he was at a loss what to do without Clara 
to admire. At one time he seemed to be on 
the point of suggesting that we should come 
and keep house for him, and I began to cast 
about for some answer more polite than ' Xo, 
thank vou, I would rather not.' ' 



STILL WATEES. 2^J 

' I am sorry that I missed Sir Jolin/ said 
David. ' Did he say anything of — of the Gas- 
coignes ? It saves trouble/ he added, with a 
short laugh, ' when the bride does not change 
her name/ 

' Yes ; he said that they were in Belgrave- 
square, and that he was going up to town next 
week to join them/ said Ruth. 

' Perhaps/ continued David, ' you would 
like to call to-morrow, and see the bride in all 
her finery.-' 

' Xo, thank you, David. As Isabel said just 
now, I had rather not.^ 

^Did you see any one as we drove through 
the town, Ruth?^ Isabel asked. 

' Only the Doctor.' 

' Only V repeated David. ' I have some sus- 
picion that the Doctor takes our departure 
more to heart than any one.' 

' I hope not/ said Ruth, quietly, as she 
evaded her brother's searching gaze. She had 
never confessed the true state of the case, but 
David had made his own observations. 

^The Doctor has his own resoui'ces/ ob- 
served Isabel. ' He will learn a new language, 
or take greater pains than ever to bring on a 
promising pupil, so as to diive out vexing 

VOL. II. S 



258 STILL WATERS. 

thoughts. I am most sorry for poor Miss 
Perrott. She has so few interests in life ' 

* That she devised one in tormenting us/ 
interposed David. ^ How she did worry me 
yesterday to wear flannel next the skin ! I 
disputed the necessity for half an hour; and 
when she had worked herself into a fever, and 
proved that I was throwing away my precious 
life, I quietly told her that I had worn it from 
my earliest infancy.^ 

^Poor Miss Perrott/ said Isabel, checking 
an involuntary smile. ' It was a shame to 
tease her.^ 

^ She will miss us,^ observed Ruth ; ' but 
her life is less objectless than it was. She 
takes an interest in her district, and carries on 
a jangling friendship with Mr. Mayne. And 
then there are the Dunns ^ 

' There are the Dunns, as you observe,^ said 
David. ^ Isabel may well say, poor Miss Per- 
rott.^ And he turned the conversation to other 
matters. 

No part of the busy day they spent in Lon- 
don was occupied by a visit to Belgrave-square, 
and on the following morning they set out on 
their route for Dover and Ostend. It was still 
too early in the season for Switzerland and the 



STILL WATERS. 259 

Tyrol, and they lingered for some days among 
the Belgian towns. IsabeFs enjoyment of their 
travels increased with every step they took ; all 
cares were cast aside, and her energy was as 
nntiring as her admiration. David also gained 
strength daily ; but fatigue and excitement did 
not suit Kuth so well. She looked fagged 
and languid^ secretly pining for the solitude 
and regularity of her former life ; and, on her 
account, it was decided that they should remain 
for a few days at Bonn. 

^At any rate, we must have stopped for a 
night or two,^ said David, when they were 
locked up in the Salle d'Attente at Cologne. 
^ As I opened my desk just now to exchange 
our good gold for that debased Prussian silver, 
I discovered the Doctor^s letter of introduction 
to his friend the German professor. He par- 
ticularly requested us to make acquaintance 
with his learned and unseen correspondent ; and 
then Ruth shall write and tell him how dirty 
his friend is, how hairy, and what is the length 
of his meerschaum.^ 

*■ He ought to ask us to dinner,^ said Isabel. 
^ If we see a little of German life, it will repay 
us for the trouble of unpacking some presentable 
clothes.' 

s 3 



26o STILL WATERS. 

' I am glad that you are modest enougli to 
talk of seeing,^ said David. ' It is evident that 
your intercourse will go no further^ since you 
still have recourse to my voluble and nngram- 
matical French, which yon prophesied would 
be of no further use when we reached the 
Prussian frontier/ 

^It is very mortifying/ rejoined Isabel, 
laughing. ' I speak on scientific principles, 
yet I can get no ansAver but that terrible Wie 
meinen Sie ? or, which is still more insulting, 
' Speak English, and I shall understand.^ And 
if the natives originate a remark, I have not a 
glimmering consciousness of its meaning.^ 

' If the natives were to act instead of speak- 
ing, it would be more to the purpose,^ said 
David. ' Unless that gentleman in the militarj^ 
cap will unlock the door, I shall be under the 
necessity of breaking it open with his head.^ 

' My dear boy !^ said Ruth, in an admoni- 
tory tone, ^ he understands English.' 

' He certainly does not,' retorted David, ' or 
he would not shut up a free and enlightened 
people in this stifling atmosphere.' 

They were released in due time, and per- 
mitted to take their places in the train for 
Bonn. Ruth was glad that the flat and imin- 



STILL WATEES. 26 1 

teresting country tlirougli T\'liicli they passed 
entitled lier to lean back in her corner of the 
carriage with closed eyes ; and while her brother 
and sister still talked in undertones, and 
thought she slept^ her thoughts were free to 
wander back to her forsaken home, with all its 
associations of joy and grief. 

They were all well pleased with Bonn. 
Isabel declared, as she had repeated at every 
successive stage of their journey, that the 
church with its five tall towers, and the Rhine 
with its seven hills, were the most perfect 
things they had seen yet, and more perfect 
than anything which could be in store for 
them. She was charmed by the suggestion 
that they should drink tea in the arbour over- 
hanging the Rhine, at the foot of the garden 
attached to the Koniglicher Hof ; and she was 
inspired with quotations in praise of Vater 
Rhein, poured forth in the pretty correct 
German which had proved so useless for the 
purposes of communication, until she was 
checked in full career by a reminiscence from 
David of the earwigs which fell into ^Irs. 
Nickleby's tea in the arbour, ' and kicked 
dreadfully.' 

It was a lovely evening; not warm, but bright 



262 STILL WATERS. 

and stillj and after tea they sauntered tlirough 
the town, speculating which was the house of 
the Doctor^s German professor ; and then they 
paced the chestnut avenue, and watched the 
fireflies glancing through the grass, long after 
Ruth had decreed that it was imprudent for 
David to stay out so late. 

^And now,' said Isabel, when they met at 
breakfast next morning, ' we ought to take 
advantage of the fine day, and go up the 
Drachenfels before dinner.' 

Her companions were amused by her energy, 
but not inclined to imitate it. Ruth had let- 
ters to write, and David declared that he felt 
more inclined for society than scenery — at all 
events, he would not go until he had taken 
counsel of the German professor concerning 
the merits of Konigswinter asses. So Isabel, 
after railing at their want of enterprise, left 
the one to her letters, the other to Galignani, 
and she set forth alone to explore the town. 
She soon returned, however, to make another 
effort to rouse her brother, declaring that she 
did not like to walk without him; foreigners 
were so civil in general, but one man had stared 
disagreeably, and followed her a little way, 
almost as if he was going to speak to her. 



STILL WATERS. 263 

' One of the Burschen V David asked. 

'^ Oh no ; at least, I think he was too old. He 
was a tall man, with moustaches — a foreigner, 
of course.^ 

' Of v-^ourse,^ repeated David ; ' notwithstand- 
ing what you said just now of the civility of 
foreigners, I am certain that no Englishman 
would be so ill-bred. It is astonishing how 
patriotic I become on this side of the water. 
We will sally forth together in search of the 
Professor ; and if we meet the fellow again, I 
have German enough to say, ' Wie meinen 
Sie ?' ' 

They saw no more of him, however, and 
Isabel had altogether forgotten the annoyance 
by the time they returned. 

^ Well, Ruth,^ she said, in such haste to tell 
her adventures that she threw down her bonnet 
in the headlong fashion on which Jasper used 
to animadvert in days gone by — ^ Well, Ruth, 
we found Herr Stahl. We only meant to 
leave the letter, but the maid begged us to 
walk in ; and so we did. He is a quaint, little 
old man, with no hair on his face, and so little 
on his head that he wears a black velvet skull- 
cap. David can tell you more about him than 
I can, for I was talking to his wife, who is 



264 STILL WATERS. 

much younger^ and speaks tlie prettiest broken 
English. They asked ns to a Kaffeetrinken in 
their garden at four o'clock, and so Tve are 
to go/ 

^Why^ I thought Tve were engaged to the 
Siehengebirge/ said Ruth. 

' They will not run away_, as David says ; 
and it would be a pity to miss such an oppor- 
tunity of seeing German life. Now, remember, 
Ruthie, how often you have told me not to be 
morose on occasion of a Holmdale tea-drinking.' 

Ruth did remember it; and she suffered 
Isabel to unpack their black silk gowns, as well 
as the small cap of choice old lace, which had 
been Miss Perrott's parting gift. 

' If you imagine that it gives you the air of a 
chaperon, you are much mistaken,' said Isabel ; 
'it is so becoming that you will only get the 
credit of a successful piece of coxcombry.' 

David was equally well pleased ; he declared 
that he had never been worthy of his sisters' 
dark eyes, and clear, olive complexions, until 
he came into this land of fair-haired Germans ; 
and he was really not ashamed to present them 
as specimens of his countrywomen. Isabel was 
inclined to wish herself on the Drachenfels, 
when they were ushered into the best parlour 



STILL \YATERS. 265 

of the Professor's house^ instead of the cheerful 
sitting-room in which their visit had been paid. 
An air of constraint pervaded the white paint 
and gilding_, the mirrors and marble-topped 
tables ; and the guests^ who were ladies for the 
most part, conversed with each other in a low^ 
guttural murmur, which was wholly unintelli- 
gible to her ear. But their hostess came for- 
ward to greet the strangers in pleasant_, idiomatic 
English, and introduced the wearer of a Prus- 
sian uniform to ' his brother Hauptman/ though 
David laughingly disclaimed any such equality 
of rank. 

*" And_, besides,' continued the Frau Profes- 
sorin, ' it rejoices me to have here one of your 
own countrymen ; he is even now in the garden 
with Karlj but for this surprise have I not pre- 
pared him. He is so what we in our tongue 
cdWfremdj verschlossen.' 

' And we, resented/ said Ruth, with a smile ; 
' I am afraid that it is an Eno^lish failino:.' 

^ But he is not like an Englishman,' said 
Madame Stahl; '^he speaks his own tongue 
even so badly as I myself; but his German is 
vortrefflich, and he is full of learning, although 
so young. He is even now made Professor at 
Heidelberg, by means of my husband,, with 



266 STILL WATERS. 

■whom he has studied_, and who Hkes him well ; 
but for me, I know him not at all. He speaks 
seldom, and lives much to himself; and I for- 
bade Karl to tell him that it was a Kaffee- 
trinken, lest he should excuse himself from 
coming/ 

^ And what is his name V Isabel asked, with 
eager interest ; for the instinct of romance was 
aroused by this description. 

^ His real name I know not, but he pleases 
to be called Herr Kleinod ; though he makes 
no secret of his nation, and attends ever your 
church. With many he passes for a German.^ 

The solid, fresh -coloured maid announced 
that coffee was served ; and the guests obeyed 
the summons with alacrity, glad to exchange 
the room, with its closed windows, for the cool 
freshness of the garden. As usual at these 
gatherings, there was a succession of small, 
green tallies and chairs set out, so that the 
party was broken into sets, each sipping coffee, 
and enjoying life after their own fashion, with- 
out paying much attention to their neighbours. 
Isabel looked anxiously round in search of the 
two professors ; but they were not to be seen, 
so she accepted her brother's invitation to join 
him and the young officer, while Ruth sat be- 



STILL WATERS. 267 

side tlieir hostess, who was still more charmed 
with her gentle gravity than she had been with 
the greater animation of her brother and sister. 
But the duties of hospitality imposed too many 
claims upon her to leave more than a divided 
attention for Ruth, who was, on her part, well 
pleased to sit silent and obseiTe the scene be- 
fore her. 

' Ah \' the Frau Professorin presently ex- 
claimed ; ' I see there Karl, and with him your 
countryman. I will bring him to you.^ 

She rose accordingly; and Ruth watched 
her progress with interest, in order to discover 
which was this mysterious Herr Kleinod. ^Mien 
Madame Stahl addressed herself to two per- 
sons, coming down one of the alleys of cropped 
acacia, it was easy to distinguish the Professor 
by IsabePs description, in the small, withered 
man, whose scanty white hairs were sui'mounted 
by a velvet cap. His companion was a young 
and powerful man, whose dress and air, the 
turn of his moustaches, and his short hair, 
might have justified any one in regarding him 
as a native of Germany; and, indeed, Ruth 
could scarcely believe that the courteous gesture 
with which he took off his hat, and remained 
for a moment uncovered, when Madame Stahl 



268 STILL WATEES. 

addressed him^ could have been acquired by a 
foreigner^ tbe action was so distinctly national. 

There was a brief colloquy; and Madame 
Stahl returned_, laughing. 

^ He will not come ; he says he dare not 
encounter such a crowd; and so you must be 
Mahomet_, ]\Iiss Lennox^ and even come to the 
mountain.' 

E-uth_, half-unwillingly, rose to comply with 
the request ; but the stranger did not await 
her approach. For a moment he stood irre- 
solute; and then a flush_, which was apparent 
even through bis bronzed and sunburnt com- 
plexion, overspread his face_, while he turned 
hastily away, and retraced his steps up the 
alley. 

'So ist es immer !^ ejaculated the elder 
Professor_, as he proceeded to apologize for the 
discourtesy of his friend. With him, he as- 
sured E,uth, no man was more agreeable, but 
Herr Kleinod ever drew back from intercourse 
with his own countrymen. 

Isabel had been much amused by the inci- 
dent ; and she detained her sister for a moment, 
when she was about to return to her seat. 
' After all, Ruth,' she said, ' I believe that we 
have not missed much. The man is certainly 



STILL WATERS. 269 

a great bear_, for lie is the same who stared so 
disagreeably this morning/ 

'^ I must go back to ^ladame Stahl^ dear/ 
said Ruthj disengaging herself from her sister's 
grasp. In truth her limbs trembled_, and her 
pulses throbbed so much that she was unable 
to standi and yet she dared not ask herself 
the cause of her agitation. The idea was too 
strange^ wild^ and incredible_, to be entertained 
for an instant. 



270 STILL WATERS. 



CHAPTER XX. 

Be not amazed at life. 'Tis still 
The mode of God with His elect, 

Their hopes exactly to fulfil 

In times and ways they least expect. 

The Angel in the House. 

COFFEE and conversation came to an end 
togetlier_, and David and his sisters took 
leave of the Stahls^ and set out for their hotel. 
But the entrance to the Alte Zoll_, the terrace 
overhanging the Rhine^ looked attractive^ and 
they turned in there^ to watch the sunset^ and 
to talk over the incidents of the afternoon. 
There they remained until David^ chilly as 
usual, proclaimed the necessity of a brisk walk ; 
and as Ruth was too tired to move_, she was 
left sitting on one of the benches a little re- 
tired from the broad walk, while her brother 
and sister went off together. She could still 
see the rich purple colour of the Siebengebirge, 
their jagged outline cutting sharp against the 
evening sky, and through the trees she caught 
a glimpse of the broad and rushing stream ; 



STILL WATEES. 271 

but thougli these things were ob\dous to the 
outward senses, her thoughts were far away. 
And while she sat thus, she was startled by a 
voice, which, though familiar, seemed more 
allied with her dreams than with the scene 
before her. 

'Then you do not, or will not know me?' 
Ruth looked up, and saw the same person 
who had shunned an introduction so shortly 
before, standing before her. What had that 
tall, whiskered man, with well-formed fea- 
tures and a frame so remarkable for muscular 
strength, in common with the boyish figm^e 
still fresh in her recollection ? She knew not ; 
rather she knew too well, not daring to ac- 
knowledge the truth to herself, since his look, 
his accent, his very tones, were changed. She 
did not speak, but stood up, trembling. 
' Speak, Ruth, do you know me V 
He called her by name ! It was, it must be, 
Jasper ! Yet, by a strange impulse, Ruth 
turned from him, and advanced a few paces, so 
as to place her hands upon the balustrade, un- 
conscious that she was followed, until Jasper 
spoke again. 

^ Perhaps, Ruth, you would have been better 
pleased to pass unrecognised ; and so I might 



2/2 STILL WATERS. 

have escaped tliis miserable consciousness of 
being considered unworthy of one word of 
welcome fi;om those I have so yearned to see/ 

Euth felt that the reproach was just. In 
acting over this scene in imagination_, as she 
had often done, she had schooled herself to be 
composed and guarded ; but the event over- 
threw all her calculations. An icy barrier of 
constraint seemed to have sprung up between 
them^ and she could not show, she could not, 
at that moment, even feel, the deep and absorb- 
ing interest which had never flagged in all the 
foregoing years of mysterious estrangement. 
She looked up once more, and said, faintly — 

' At first, I did not know you.^ 

' Nor I you ; Isabel is more like what you 
were, and I almost spoke to her this morning.^ 

' Isabel and David will be so glad.' 

' Even though you, Ruth, are indifferent ? 
^ly heart fails when I think of encountering 
another such chilling greeting. It were better 
to be gone, and to leave you to forget that you 
have ever seen me.' 

^ Forgive me,' whispered Ruth. ^ It is all so 
new and so strange. Yet do not say that I am 
indifferent.' 

' Then you are not ashamed to speak to me ?' 



STILL WATERS. 273 

'' Oli^ Jasper !^ Aud that answer would 
have been sufficient, even if Ruth had not 
sHpped her hand within his, and suffered him 
to lead her back to the bench, where they 
might sit and talk, secure from observation. 

On both sides there was much to tell ; but 
Jasper's own account of himself may be given 
in fewer words. In leaving Holmdale^ he had 
yielded to a blind and irresistible impulse to 
escape from infamy, aware that he could only 
have redeemed his own honour by implicating 
his father. And probably a shrinking dread 
of any further intercourse with that father 
was another powerful incentive to flight. He 
made his way to Liverpool with the inten- 
tion of securing a berth in some outward- 
bound vessel; and in order to raise money 
for this purpose, by the sale of his watch, he 
entered a jeweller's shop. While there, an 
apparently accidental circumstance wholly al- 
tered his destination. The master of the shop 
was a German, whose knowledge of English 
was so imperfect that Jasper found it easier to 
drive a bargain with him in his own tongue. 
He had a turn for languages, and spoke Ger- 
man with ease and correctness; but before the 
negotiation for the sale of his watch had made 

VOL. II. T 



2 74 STILL WATERS. 

mucli progress^ lie was surprised by an offer of 
a very different nature. The jeweller had been 
directed to engage a tutor for the son of a cer- 
tain Baron von Orsbach^ residing in the neigh- 
bourhood of Bonn ; and he was so prepossessed 
in Jasper^s favour that he proposed that he 
should himself accept the situation. Friendless 
and destitute as he was^ Jasper did not hesitate 
to close with the offer ; much to his surprise, 
his own account of himself was accepted with- 
out demur ; and before the interest excited by 
his mysterious disappearance had subsided in 
Holmdale, he was installed in the swampy 
Schloss von Orsbach, with its suites of unfur- 
nished rooms, its ancestral frogs and poplars. 
The years of dependence which followed had 
been animated by the one absorbing object of 
freeing himself from the burden of debt and 
dishonour which crushed his spirit. That ob- 
ject was only accomplished at the cost of in- 
cessant toil, since he applied himself to every 
species of literary drudgery which might eke 
out the sum he was able to lay aside out of his 
scanty salary. But the labour had been bracing 
rather than exhausting, and had stimulated 
the powers of mind which Dr. Berkeley had 
always asserted were only lying dormant, and 



STILL TVATERS. 275 

must sooner or later achieve distiuction. The 
extraordinary mastery of the German language 
acquired by a foreigner had first attracted Pro- 
fessor Stahl to the young Englishman, and they 
had ever since been fast friends. 

^ He determined to make a German of me/ 
continued Jasper, ^in which you will say that 
he has succeeded tolerably well. He directed 
all my studies, made me go through the Uni- 
versity course here, and then obtained this 
professorship for me at Heidelberg. I ceased 
to be bear-leader to the young Otto von Ors- 
bach as soon as the 200/. was transmitted to 
Holmdale, and gave myself up to the luxury 
of learning, though now, it seems, the days of 
tuition ai'e to begin once more. You see how 
much I owe to Stahl ; but I can tell you what 
has proved a closer bond than gratitude — his 
correspondence with ^ eiri gelehrter Herr, 
Berkeley genannt.' Imagine how my heart 
leaped when I first heard the name ; and from 
that time I saw all the Doctoi^s letters, though 
they only awakened an unsatisfied yearning for 
news of you all. How I have chafed and 
fretted, and then laughed at my own folly for 
seeking your name or David^s among a list of 
old Greek manuscripts.-' 
T 2 



276 STILL WATEES. 

^ It was your own fault/ Ptutli answered. 
' Oil, Jasper, it was cruel to let all those years 
go by wdtliout one sign of life/ 

^ It was better so/ said lie_, gloomily. ' I 
wished that you should think me dead, for then 
I knew that you would judge me kindly. If, 
indeed, I had known what you have now told, 
I might have acted otherwise.^ 

For Ruth had already told him of his fa- 
ther's death, and of the full disclosure Avhich 
preceded it, while Jasper held his breath, and 
listened with shuddering interest. He was 
touched by the Doctor's anxiety to clear his 
name. 

^ If I had imagined,' he said, *" that there was 
one living being to take an interest in me, or 
w^ho thought me other than a reprobate, I 
might have compelled myself to renew some 
intercourse; but, even now, no earthly power 
should induce me to return to Holmdale, though 
I like to hear all the familiar names once more. 
I want to hear of the Doctor ; is he aged T 

' A little,' said Ruth. 

^And seeing you reminds me of another 
absorbing interest of buried days. Are there 
changes at Dyne Court ? — or is Clara Gascoigne 
Clara Gascoigne still V 



STILL AYATERS. 277 

The question was asked in a tone of nncon- 
cern_, which made Ruth^s heart bounds although 
she was ashamed of the momentary exultation. 

' Yes ; but only because she has married her 
cousin^ Evelyn Gascoigne. T have not pained 
you by telling you so abruptly, Jasper V 

' Not at all. I have a certain tenderness 
for the only romance my life is likely to know ; 
but it ended long ago, and was always visionary. 
There is nothing like hard head-work for driv- 
ing out vexing thoughts, and I am content to 
give myself up to student life without such a 
pretty and useless addition to my household 
goods as our friend the Professor has in Ma- 
dame Stahl, who always says the wrong thing 
at the wrong moment, and consults her hus- 
band concerning the shades of Berlin wool in 
his smoking"Cap when we are in the midst of 
a scientific discussion.^ 

'^I dare say/ returned Ruth, with a smile, 
' it is from a conscientious belief that it would 
be much better for you to unbend your mind 
by a little attention to the amenities of life.^ 

' Very likely ; but she has only confirmed 
my determination to resist all such impertinent 
intrusion into my den at Heidelberg. And 
now let me hear of yourself, Ruth. You will 



270 STILL WATERS. 

believe/ he added^ with one hasty glance at her 
mourning dress^ ^ that it is not forgetfulness 
which sealed my lips, when I refrained from 
asking after one.^ 

' Thank you/ said Ruth, as her lip quivered 
in the attempt to smile. ' I felt that you 
must know how it was. It is at such times 
that her loss comes home, for she would have 
entered into our present happiness. I like to 
believe that she is doing so even now.^ 

^ So your home was broken up and you came 
abroad,^ said Jasper. ^ Or was it on account 
of your health T 

* On David^s account. He has been seriously 
ill, though now he gains ground so fast that 
you would scarcely think so/ 

' No. He always looked delicate, and he 
is altogether less altered than the rest of us. 
For though Isabel has even surpassed her pro- 
mise of beauty, she gives me the impression of 
having suffered a good deal before her spirits 
were toned down. Though she did not seem 
unhappy either when I was watching you this 
evening.^ 

^ Yet you are right,^ said Huth, ' in thinking 
that she has suffered enough to grow old before 
her time; and I cannot help regretting the 



STILL WATERS. 279 

JOYOUS, lawless spirits wliicli used to offend 
your propriety in old times. If anything can 
rouse them again, it will be the instinct of 
bra\'ing your displeasure.^ 

■ And you, Ruth/ continued Jasper, ^ are 
you not changed more than any of us ?^ 

' Oh, no. You know that I was always 
quiet ; and I don^t grow more noisy with in- 
creasing years.^ 

It was quite dusk before David and Isabel 
returned; and they were beginning to apolo- 
gize for having left Ruth so long alone, play- 
fully disputing whose fault it was, before they 
discovered that she was not alone after all. 
And Isabel was still more perplexed when a 
tall figure rose up from the bench, and intro- 
duced himself in an accent which Madame 
Stahl was justified in considering more like 
that of a foreigner than an Englishman, as 
^ the man who stared so disagreeably.^ 

The explanation soon followed ; and Jasper 
had no cause to complain, as in RutVs case, 
that it was received with indifierence. David 
almost shook off his hand in the eagerness of 
his satisfaction, while Isabel evinced her excite- 
ment by kissing Ruth, and asking if she was 
content at last. 



2 bo STILL WATERS. 

Ruth was the first to remember that it was 
imprudent for David to linger in the night air^ 
and they repaired to the hotel ; nor was Jasper 
suffered to take leave of them at the door^ as 
he proposed to do. 

' For you know/ said Isabel^ ' that I have 
not seen you yet, except in the character of a 
mysterious stranger, and I want to ascertain 
how much of your old self is left/ 

^ Or, rather, how much of a new self is added,' 
said David. ^Now that I see what a great 
man Clinton has become, T am sadly mortified 
by my own smallness of stature.' 

Jasper followed them up-stairs, and Isabel 
called for candles, and held up one in order to 
make her inspection, which he endured with an 
air of dignified submission very amusing to the 
bystanders. 

^ After all,' Isabel decided, ^ you are less 
changed than I fancied. The great difi'erence 
is, that your features have grown up to your 
forehead, and I should have known your mouth 
anywhere if you had not disguised it with such 
a moustache. How amused the Doctor will 
be to hear that you are a moustached pro- 
fessor, with a ring on your fore -finger.' 

Jasper looked down_, disconcerted by this 



STILL WATEES. 28 1 

last proof of disloyalty to Eiiglisli customs^ 
which had not escaped Isabel's quick eyes. 

' It is not my faiilt_, Isabel. The riog was 
Otto von Orsbach's parting present_, and it 
will only fit my forefinger.' 

' I understand/ said Isabel^ laughing ; ' a 
seal of your c?e-naturalization. Yet^ after all, 
Jasper, England is not such a bad countr}^' 

' It was only too good for me/ replied 
Jasper, in a tone which efiectually checked 
Isabel's inclination for raillery. His sensitive- 
ness to ridicule was, as she afterwards observed 
to David, a much stronger proof of his identity 
than the resemblance which she had attempted 
to trace to his former self. 

In truth, fiv^e years' estrangement in a 
foreign land, beginning at that most pliable 
age when the transition from youth to manhood 
was not fully made, had wrought a greater 
change in Jasper's outward habits and appear- 
ance than the lapse of time might seem to 
warrant ; but his disposition was still the same, 
the tone of his mind as high, his sense of 
honour only too morbidly quick. Noav that 
the apparently inseparable barrier between him 
and the home and companions of his boyhood 
was broken down, he threw himself back into 



282 STILL WATERS. 

the past with eager interest, his accurate recol- 
lection of old acquaintance and familiar scenes 
proving that it was not indifference which had 
so long kept him silent. He stayed talking so 
late, that David took up his candle with a yawn 
as soon as he was gone, declaring that not even 
the wonders of this discovery should defraud 
him of his allowance of eight hours^ sleep. 

The sisters were left standing together at 
the open window. 

' You are happy now, Ruth,' said Isabel, 
twining her arm round her. 

' Happy and thankful, dear.' 

^ It is very pleasant. I was infected by 
Clara's absurd idea of the gold-digger, and 
expected to see something quite uncivilized, if 
he ever did turn up. I can hardly now believe 
that he is a learned man and a professor, and 
but for the charms of Heidelberg, I should 
still be in favour of a cottage in the back- 
woods.' 

' It is best as it is,' said Kuth. ' Jasper's 
mind must work on something, and manual 
labour would nqt have satisfied him.' 

Isabel was too prudent to reveal that she 
was not thinking only of Jasper. 

' Yes j I remember how the Doctor used to 



STILL TVATERS. 28^ 

say that he Tvas the stuff of "^vhich philosophers 
Avere made, and he will rejoice in the fulfil- 
ment of his prediction. We must write to 
him at once^ Ruth ; and I hope that he will tell 
the stoiy to Lord Edward when they meet. 
He was so much interested in what he heard 
of Jasper when we brought David from York, 
and all Holmdale was ringing with the restitu- 
tion of the money.' 

As neither of the sisters saw any harm in 
match-making for the other, E.uth was grati- 
fied by this reminiscence of Lord Edward^ and 
by the blush which accompanied it. 



284 STILL WATERS. 



CHAPTER XXI 

Hopes, and fears that kindle hope, 
An undistinguisliable throng ; 

And gentle wishes long subdued. 
Subdued and cherished long ! 

S. T. COLEEIDGE. 

T^HREE days afterwards, Jasper set out for 
-*- Heidelberg, in company with David and 
Lis sisters. No pleasanter resting-place could 
be devised, until the season for travelling in 
Switzerland had arrived ; and Jasper claimed 
E-uth's experience in household affairs to aid 
his first attempts at housekeeping. Isabel was 
irritated by her sister's literal interpretation of 
the request ; time after time she left them 
together, only to find them on their return, 
calculating the number of silver spoons, and the 
stock of house-linen required for a bachelor^s 
establishment. Although Jasper preferred 
Ruth's society to that of any other person, 
there was nothing lover-like in his manner, 
while, on her side, there was an additional 
shade of reserve, but no apparent embarrass- 
ment. 



STILL WATERS. 285 

Isabel spent the greater part of the day on 
the Rhine, in the forepart of the steamer, with 
Jasper by her side, who was able to name every 
rock and castle, without reference to Murray 
or the panorama. Just as they were under 
the shadow of Ehrenbreitstein, however, Jasper 
forget his part of cicerone, and after answering 
Isabels expressions of admiration at random, 
he said abruptly — 

^ I observed, Isabel, that Ruth coloured 
when David made that allusion to the Doctor 
at dinner, though he seemed to speak in jest/ 

^ The Doctor was in earnest, however,^ said 
Isabel, rather dryly. 

' Then there was love on his side ? It is 
strange — yet not strange — except that it should 
have failed to meet with a return ; for Ruth 
used to admire and rely upon him so much/ 

' Yes, at the time you knew them together. 
But you were the cause of coolness and con- 
straint.^ 

' I was V 

' I mean,^ continued Isabel, desperately, for 
she was alarmed by the effect of words which 
had slipped out unawares, while she felt tliat 
she must go on since she had embarked in the 
subject ; ' I mean that Ruth could never quite 



285 STILL WATERS. 

forgive him for not sharing her confidence in 
your nnblemished honour. You know that 
appearances were against you/ 

'You may well say so/ answered Jasper. 
' And Ruth trusted me through all ? She 
never told me.^ 

' Then I am sorry that you should know it 
through me ; for, though I do not always un- 
derstand her reserve, I always feel that it is 
sacred.^ 

' Ruth used not to be reserved with me/ 
said Jasper. 

' Perhaps not ; but you must accept that 
result of your long and selfish neglect ; for it 
was selfish to be silent through all these years, 
as if the memory of your close friendship had 
been blotted out. You know not, and are not 
worthy to know, all the suffering you caused her.^ 

Isabel spoke with flushed cheeks and a 
faltering voice, and the colour also rushed 
into Jasper's face. But he only replied by the 
German monosyllable ' So I' which may con- 
vey so much or so little meaning ; and then he 
advised their return to the other end of the 
vessel, since they were only in the way of the 
knot of people preparing to disembark at 
Coblenz. 



STILL WATERS. 287 

Isabel looked anxiously for some change in 
his manner to Ruth, but none was apparent, 
except that he spoke to her rather less than 
before. Isabel was bitterly, unreasonably in- 
dignant, and only induced to curb her resent- 
ment by perceiving that Euth was pained by 
her flighty and inconsequent manner. She did 
not feel relieved until they reached Mainz, 
where they were to pass the night. She set 
out with David to explore the town, which 
gave her an opportunity of telling him that 
Jasper was totally, irretrievably ruined; she 
had tried to like him, but now she wps con- 
vinced that he was nothing but a selfish, 
boorish, beer-drinking German. 

' You ought to have come to that conclusion 
a little sooner,^ said David, laughing ; ' I dis- 
covered that you two were at issue this after- 
noon ; and if your tempers are so incompatible, 
we should not have allowed the Stahls to write 
and engage the lodgings for us at the Castle. 
Jasper was always unlike other people, but I 
still think him a very good fellow ; and if there 
is any crime in drinking beer, I must refute 
the calumny as far as he is concerned, since I 
can testify that he has drunk nothing but sour 
wine since we met.' 



288 STILL WATERS. 

' I do not mean that he is all that at pre- 
sent/ said Isabel^ a little ashamed of her ve- 
hemence ; ^ but it is what he will inevitably 
become if he is to live only for himself, his com- 
fortSj and his books — a regular old Hagestoltz, 
in short/ 

^ Which is German for a bachelor, is it not ? 
So there is a melancholy prospect for us/ 

' Not at all ; we are to live for each other, 
and be bright exceptions to the rule. How- 
ever, you think me unreasonable; so I will 
forgive Jasper this time, and try to understand 
him better — even though a standing feud might 
make our life in the old Castle all the more 
real and pleasant/ 

In accordance with this good resolution, she 
treated Jasper with greater civility next morn- 
ing, and before reaching Heidelberg they had 
returned to their former relations — amicable, 
but rather defensive. 

Two days after this, Kuth stood beside 
Jasper, on the broad Altan overhanging the 
Neckar and the town of Heidelberg, to watch 
the yellow light of sunset. The steepness of 
the ascent to the Castle had obliged her to 
accept the assistance wdiich in general she de- 
clined, and her hand still rested on his arm. 



STILL WATERS. 289 

when Jasper spoke_, in tlie low, measured tone 
which, veils emotion — 

^ I hardly dare thank you, Ruth^ and yet I 
cannot be silent, for having maintained my 
innocence in the face of detraction ; since you 
knew no more than others/ 

^ I felt the truth. But who told you, Jas- 
per V 

^ Isabel ; though she said truly that I was 
unworthy to know it. To her I would not 
justify myself — to you I cannot; I only seek 
forgiveness/ 

^ For what ? Oh, Jasper, why will you pain 
me so much V 

* Forgive me all the sorrow I have caused 
you, then and now. You cannot, you must 
not take any further interest in one so unwor- 
thy of you. Forget that you have ever known 
me ; leave me to my cheerless and solitary 
fate.^ And, with an impatient gesture, Jasper 
shook off the little hand which trembled on his 
arm. 

But Buth placed it there again^ and said, 
softly — 

^ I cannot forget, Jasper .•' 
^ You cannot ! Do you remember what I 
am — a dishonoured name my sole inheritance ; 

VOL. II. u 



290 STILL WATERS. 

a morose and gloomy temper my sole endow- 
ment V 

' I know what yon are/ answered Ruth ; 
' the same Jasper who cared for me as a friend 
or a brother in early days — who, as a brother, 
cares for me still/ 

^ Not so/ said Jasper, now clasping the hand 
which he had flung from him a moment before ; 
' the memory of those early days has not faded 
— the image of that loving and gentle sister 
was enshrined in my inmost heart, dear as my 
own life, yet not so dear as the sweet reality. 
Speak to me, Ruth ; I do not plead my cause ; 
I dare not ask you to be mine ; you know what 
I am.^ 

' I know,' said Ruth. 

And that answer was sufficient. It drew 
down Jasper's lips to imprint the kiss of be- 
trothal on her brow ; heroism and self-sacrifice 
were forgotten — all but the bond, stronger than 
death, which linked that loving form to his 
side. 

AYith perfect sincerity, Isabel declared that 
this ^ selfish, boorish, beer-drinking German' 
was the brother-in-law whom of all others she 
would have chosen ; and she was gratified by 
the conviction that her good offices had been 



STILL WATERS. 29 1 

needed to bring the affair to a liappy conclu- 
sion. 

^ Now^ do tell me/ she said^ one evening, not 
long before the wedding-day; ^were you not 
waiting for that friendly shove to fall in love 
with Ruth V 

^ You never were more mistaken/ replied 
Jasper^ briefly. 

' That is a polite contradiction ! However, 
perhaps I put the question a little too strongly. 
But^ at least^. you will allow that I set the 
stone rolling.^ 

* I will allow anything you please, if you will 
leave me in peace/ said Jasper; and Isabel 
laughed and took the hint. The lovers were 
left in possession of the sitting-room, while she 
went to join Dand, who was smoking among 
the ruins, gi'eeting him with the remark that, 
though she thoroughly liked Jasper, she could 
not help wishing that his manner was less 
uncouth. But real courtesy was a rare gift 
in these days. Had one who certainly pos- 
sessed the gift in full measure any place in her 
thoughts ? 



u 2 



292 STILL WATERS. 



CHAPTER XXIT. 

The laws of marriage, character' d In gold. 
Upon the blanched tablets of her heart ; 
A love still burning upward, giving light 
To read those laws ; an accent very low. 
In blandishment, but a most silver flow 

Of subtle-paced counsel in distress. 
Eight to the heart and brain, though undescried. 

Winning its way with extreme gentleness 
Through all the outworks of suspicious pride. 

Tennyson. 

<TS Mrs. Clinton at liome?' 
J- The English question, the English tone, 
was never more welcome; for Mrs. Clinton re- 
cognised the voice at once, and ran out into the 
trellised porch to answer for herself. In her 
black silk dress and lace cap, she looked as 
matronly as if she had been married for years, 
instead of months. The expression of staid 
and qniet happiness was scarcely bridal, but it 
was very characteristic. The oval outline of 
her face and its returning colour, showed that 
youth and health were renewed together. 

^ Oh, Lord Edward ! I am so glad to see 
you.' 



STILL WATERS. 293 

' And I am deliglited to find you at liome^ 
and in such a pretty home. I had not time 
to write and announce my movements/ Lord 
Edward was one of those men who never have 
time to write. 

' I did not expect to hear again/ said Ruth, 
'^ after I had written that you would always 
find a spare room/ 

^ And are you alone V 

' My husband is in lecture. He will be here 
presently/ said Ruth, with a slight blush; for 
she was but a two months^ bride, after all. 
Then, as Lord Edward still looked dissatisfied, 
she suddenly recollected that Jasper was not 
the object of this inquiry. ^ We expect David 
and my sister either to-night or to-morrow 
morning. They have had a prosperous tour, 
and Isabel writes that David is as strong as he 
ever was. He has only come back to escort 
Isabel, before going ofi" to [Malta.' 

* And Miss Lennox will remain with you V 

'Yes.' Ruth thought that Lord Edward 
would have ample opportunity for talking of 
and to Isabel, in the course of his visit, and 
she was impatient for English news. ' You 
wrote from Holmdale, Lord Edward V 

' Yes. I went there for a few days after the 



294 STILL WATEES. 

House was prorogued^ and I come here^ charged 
with more expressions of good-will than I can 
remember, from all your friends. The Doctor 
was particularly flourishing/ 

' I hoped so/ said Ruth ; ' he is such an 
excellent correspondent — gossip for me, and 
scholarship for Jasper. We can hardly keep 
up with him.' 

' And Miss Perrott's rheumatism was less 
obtrusive than usual/ continued Lord Edward, 
a little dryly, for he was infected by Isabel's 
wicked inclination to make light of that lady's 
infirmities. 

When Ruth's appetite for Holmdale news 
was satisfied, she only travelled as far as 
Dyne Court. 

' Tell me about the Gascoignes/ she said. 
' I have heard nothing of them since we left, 
or hardly anything. My only letter from Clara 
was not satisfactory.' 

' I am afraid there is nothing satisfactory to 
tell,' said Lord Edward, gravely. 'Mrs. Gas- 
coigne is very gay; but it is a gaiety which 
reminds me of the ' crackling of thorns.' Even 
when she smiles and talks most, her harassed, 
careworn expression shows how far she is from 
true happiness. I seldom see her with her 



STILL WATERS. 295 

hiisband^ and then his indifference is more 
openly manifested than even the superficial 
morality of good breeding demands/ 

' Poor Clara '/ said E-uth^ sadly ; ^ you must 
not be too hard on her. However little I can 
defend her conduct to others^ she really cared 
for Captain Gascoigne^ and there was no trifling 
on her side/ 

*■ If she cares for him still, she conceals it 
skilfully/ said Lord Edward ; ' that flighty, co- 
quettish manner was objectionable enough before, 
but it is ten times worse in a young wife/ 

' Still you say she looks unhappy/ Ruth 
urged, ^ and that manner must be assumed to 
hide care, not really careless/ 

Lord Edward only shook his head, but he 
did not admire Ruth the less for her eagerness 
to plead the cause of one with whom she had 
so little in common. And when Jasper came 
in, it was clear that practically she knew very 
well what a bride^s manner ought to be, — so 
much gentleness and repose, and her readiness 
to anticipate the slightest wish of her husband 
or her guests, were just what he liked, what he 
could picture to himself in Isabel, forgetting at 
the moment that the sisters were as unlike as 
it is possible for sisters to be. 



29«5 STILL WATERS. 

Jasper looked proud and happy; tlie false 
shame which had so long depressed him Avas 
fast disappearing, and he conld talk of Holm- 
dale matters_, and of his former life there, with 
an ease which Ruth had never expected him to 
attain, so that she began to hope that his reso- 
lution never to revisit England might in time 
be overcome. Altogether the evening passed 
pleasantly away, though Lord Edward echoed 
in silence the wonder expressed by Ruth, whe- 
ther the travellers would arrive in time for 
supper. 

They did arrive in time for supper, a little 
wayworn, not a little sunburnt, yet not so 
much so as to mar IsabeFs beauty. 

' I am sorry, dear,^ Ruth said, apologetically, 
as she went up-stairs with her sister — ' I am 
sorry that Lord Edward has come in for the 
first night of your arrival. I would have put 
him off, if he had given me notice.^ 

' Oh, it does not signify,^ said Isabel, hur- 
riedly ; yet her fluttering heart told her that it 
signified a good deal. She was not merely 
gratified by the enduring attachment which had 
urged him to try his fate once more, and his 
agitated greeting assured her that he had come 
for no other purpose; a deeper emotion had 



STILL WATERS. 297 

thrilled throiigli her frame as she placed her hand 
in his_, not quite new nor strange^ for she had felt 
it once before. Yet she did not think of that 
now ; and the theory of first and only love was 
cast aside and forgotten, or only so far remem- 
bered as to give consistency to the belief that 
she had never truly loved before. 

Need we say more? David was deprived of 
the promised companion of his solitary old age; 
but he bore the loss with so much equanimity, 
that we may hope that he will in due time console 
himself in like manner. And as Isabel was to 
have made her home with Ruth and Jasper, 
until he retired fr'om the army as full colonel, 
Ruth was more imraediately affected by the 
success of Lord Edward^s suit; however, she 
was too good a sister to be inconsolable. 

' We shall miss her,^ she observed to Jasper ; 
' but they will be very happy. Even in height 
and good looks they are exactly suited to each 
other; his Vandyke face and high-breeding 
go so well with her queen-like beauty. And, 
then, as poor Clara once said, ^ Lady Edward is 
such a pretty title.^ ' 

THE END. 



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